Next Celtic Manager: Clarke a good fit to succeed Lennon

A lack of Premier League offers mean that Steve Clarke would probably be interested in the opportunity to manage Celtic

Michael Lintorn looks at the contenders to replace Neil Lennon at Celtic, and where he could turn up next...

"The sixth option is arguably the most intriguing in the entire market: Steve Clarke at 8.415/2."

Neil Lennon's sudden decision to walk away from Celtic is a real treat for next manager betting aficionados, creating a fresh market for them to make hay in and lifting the Northern Irishman into contention for the Tottenham, Southampton, West Brom and Aston Villa jobs.

Though the Scottish Premiership's lack of competitivity and Rangers' demise will lead many to discredit the 42-year-old's three league titles and two Scottish Cups, his impressive results in Europe ensure that he will be taken seriously by Premier League clubs looking for a new boss this summer.

Lennon led the Bhoys to the knockout phase in 2012/13, delivering victories over Spartak Moscow and Barcelona along the way and, while they didn't replicate that in the season just gone, they did clear three qualifying rounds and beat Ajax en route to a group-stage exit.

West Brom is judged his most likely Premier League destination at 7.613/2, closely followed by Southampton - who are in danger of losing Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham - at 8.07/1. Aston Villa are 17.016/1 to call on him if Paul Lambert is sacked, with Spurs 120.0119/1 outsiders.

Celtic's gamble hiring Lennon as a rookie in 2010 after Tony Mowbray's disappointing stint worked out wonderfully, but they shouldn't be too worried about what comes next.

The fact that Rangers still have at least one more campaign to get through before finishing their climb back to the top tier means that they will be odds-on to retain the Scottish Premiership whoever they appoint, and there are some fairly attractive candidates.

Four of the five frontrunners are former Celtic players, the exception being Owen Coyle at 6.05/1, who wouldn't be the most popular choice after being axed from his last two jobs at Bolton and Wigan.

Malky Mackay, who won the Championship and reached a League Cup final with Cardiff before his reputation was dented by the same employers criticising his transfer acumen, is the 4.03/1 favourite.

Henrik Larsson at 6.611/2, David Moyes at 7.413/2 and Jackie McNamara at 7.613/2 are third, fourth and fifth in the running, with the iconic striker admitting that it is a position that appeals to him yet expressing reluctance to leave current side Falkenbergs right now.

Despite failing at Man United, Moyes is expected to hold out for a chance in one of Europe's elite leagues, while this might be a year or two too soon for McNamara, whose first full term at Dundee United ended with a fourth-place finish and a Scottish FA Cup runners-up medal.

The sixth option is arguably the most intriguing in the entire market: Steve Clarke at 8.415/2. The long-time Chelsea assistant showed lots of promise in his first leading role at West Brom before his harsh dismissal last December, and appears to have dropped off the Premier League radar since.

Recommended Bet: Back Steve Clarke to be next Celtic manager @ 8.415/2

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