Martin O’Neill trained as a lawyer before going into to football and then football management. That legal training tells in some very precise word choices. So on Sunday, when he was asked on Sky TV whether Roy Keane would be a suitable Celtic manager, his response was sure to lead to speculation.
Martin (of course) dodged the question. Instead, he endorsing his former assistant’s ability as a manager, indicating his surprise so many clubs were missing out on Keane.
After a mercurial two years manager of Sunderland (summer, then winter) and two years with Ipswich in the lower reaches of the Championship, Keane has not been a manager in his own right for 10 years and 2 months.
Half of this time Roy was Martin’s assistant at Ireland. For six months during that period, he was also assistant to Paul Lambert at Aston Villa, before a short spell, again with Martin, as assistant at Nottingham Forest.
We have been here before with media reports of Roy taking the Celtic job, before Ronny Deila’s appointment seven years ago. Celtic were still shopping around then, as they are now, so it would be folly to make assumptions.
Anyway, back to Martin’s legal brain. With all them smarts, our former manager surely knows it is Roy Keane’s intensity that has led to a reluctance of chief executives to give him the keys of the kingdom. There are surely easier gigs than managing Roy Keane, although Martin achieved this part-time for five years.