Post BR-Exit – Belgium for Martinez/Maloney? Or Portugal for Andre Villas Boas?

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CELTIC have been credited with interest in bringing Roberto Martinez and his assistant manager on the Belgium national side, former Celtic Star Shaun Maloney to Paradise to replace Brendan Rodgers and his runaway assistants Chris Davies and Kolo Toure.

And the bookies have been quick to reduce their odds on the former Wigan pairing taking the Celtic job.

The Spaniard who previously played with Motherwell and has a Scottish wife may fancy his first chance to manage in the Champions League. Certainly his success at the Belgium national side – they came third in the World Cup in Russia last June – makes that a hard job to leave, particularly given the quality of players at his disposal.

Here’s what the bookies are making of it all, Neil Lennon remains favourite but the Martinez/Maloney option is now a close second favourite.

The feeling is that the job is Neil Lennon’s to lose and if he can deliver on the treble – Celtic’s third in a row – then it would be very hard for Peter Lawwell and the board to overlook that and look elsewhere.

However is a shortlist is being drawn up and there is some intelligence, probably from Maloney, that Martinez would be interested in getting back into club football, then you can see why the pair would be included.

Before Belgium’s friendly win over Scotland last autumn Roberto Martinez revealed that he came close to becoming the Celtic manager previously, as reported on The Celtic Star.

The Belgium boss disclosed that he was interviewed for the manager’s job at Parkhead in 2009 when Celtic were looking for a replacement for Gordon Strachan, who had decided that enough was enough.

Martinez, who had played for Motherwell, was then the boss at Swansea City, and had other options alongside Celtic, one being the chance to manage Wigan – another club that he had played for. He opted for Wigan rather than a move to Glasgow and he was happy to reflect on what might have been at Celtic, yesterday.

“I had conversations and I was always very impressed with the need to bring silverware.

“There was also the prospect of getting to the Champions League through the qualifying rounds and it was always a club that people are attracted to because of the intensity of the fans and what it means.

“But, at that time, I had to go back to where I started my career in the UK and where I started my coaching career at Wigan.

“In life, there has to be the right timing for moves and at that particular time I wasn’t prepared to go away from my beginnings in the UK.

“It was a chance to go and work again with Dave Whelan, who was the man who had brought me to Britain. The opportunity of having conversations with Celtic is something that fills you with pride.

“It is a club with great tradition and a club that demands qualification in the Champions League.

“You can appreciate the status of the football club.”

Another name to look out for being included is former Tottenham boss Andre Villas Boas who is keen to get back into the game after leaving his most recent job in China, but he’s not on the bookies shortlist yet!

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