ROY KEANE has held talks with Celtic over their vacant manager’s job, according to Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill.

O’Neill confirmed last evening that his assistant has held informal talks with the Hoops, for whom he played briefly at the end of his career, after owner and majority shareholder Dermot Desmond had made contact.

O’Neill said: “I had a call the other day from Dermot Desmond wanting to speak to Roy if it was at all possible, and I mentioned it to Roy, of course.

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“I am sure he was wanting to have chat anyway because a club like Celtic might not come around too often.

“It was just a really informal chat, I think, but if you are asking me would I be really disappointed? Of course if Roy was to leave us.”

O’Neill’s comments came minutes after he and Keane had put their players through their paces in an open training session at the Aviva Stadium amid mounting speculation that the ex-Sunderland boss is Celtic’s top target in the search for Neil Lennon’s replacement.

Questioned as to whether or not Keane was ready for the task of managing the Scottish champions, O’Neill replied: “I think Roy’s ready for anything. I think he’s always been ready for anything.”

O’Neill is expecting Keane to be at his side when the Republic face Italy in a friendly at Craven Cottage tomorrow