REPUBLIC of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has said he would not stand in Roy Keane's way if his assistant was offered the chance to take over at Celtic.

O'Neill admitted Keane would be a loss to the national side but said he was relaxed about the speculation linking the former Manchester United star with the Parkhead job - at least for now.

"I would say that Roy would make a good manager; I have always said that about Roy," O'Neill said. "I think the experiences he has had at Sunderland and Ipswich will stand him in good stead.

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"He had this opportunity to come with me as my assistant here but I have often said that he will be a manager again.

"I think this role is good for him. It gives him a chance to look at it, maybe work with somebody with a bit of experience like myself. But he will become a manager again, there's no question about it."

O'Neill added: "Naturally, having brought him in, I'd be disappointed if he went but I wouldn't really be standing in his way in that sense.

"I'd speak to him, I'd speak to [FAI chief executive] John Delaney as well if it happened, but it is honestly pure speculation at this minute.

"It doesn't bother me too much at all - or at least I am trying to show that."

Keane was not being quoted for club posts at the time Celtic majority shareholder Dermont Desmond brokered an unlikely partnership between him and O'Neill when a replacement for Giovanni Trapattoni was being sought. But O'Neill has no problem with the fact Keane's name appears to be back in the spotlight.

O'Neill said: "When I took him on, I can't say I had really thought that particular element of it through. It wasn't top of list at the time because he wasn't being mentioned for jobs, but such is his profile I probably should have expected it.

"He was linked also as assistant to [Louis] Van Gaal at Manchester United, he is being linked everywhere. It genuinely isn't a problem to me.

"Obviously it may well be when he is actually asked about for a specific managerial job. I will deal with that when it comes, if it comes. Henrik Larsson was nailed on for [the Celtic job], and then suddenly he was nailed off again, so I don't know how serious any of it is."