HENRIK Larsson does want the Celtic manager's job, and the club would regret it if they don't appoint him.
That was the message yesterday from Murdo MacLeod, a close friend who was also assistant manager when the Swede first signed as a player at Parkhead from Feyenoord.
Odds on Larsson replacing Neil Lennon as the next permanent manager of Celtic lengthened yesterday, ostensibly on the strength of his insistence that he was inclined to see out the Swedish season, which ends in November with current club side Falkenbergs. But Macleod, who has travelled out to his previous club Landskrona to see Larsson coaching in person, feels the problems should not be regarded as insurmountable and urged Celtic to push the boat out in order to land their 42-year-old former striking talisman.
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"I'm still in touch with Henrik and I disagree with anyone who says he does not have enough experience because Neil Lennon came in without any at all," said Macleod, speaking at the Footgolf Open event at Cowal Gold Club. "He would be 100% up for it and when you have a coach who wants to come back to the club that is a good thing to have.
"That [the contract situation] is a big one, but if Celtic want him just go and get him. Look after the club in Sweden. If it takes a transfer fee, pay it."
MacLeod, who distanced himself from talk of returning to Celtic to work with Larsson, said the Swede would be his personal choice for the post, but felt it was inevitable that many other big-name coaches would emerge. Chief executive Peter Lawwell, who spent last night with Lennon at the Champions League final in Lisbon, has said there is no hurry to make an appointment, and will spend the next few weeks sifting through potential contenders.
There is no indication yet whether David Moyes can be persuaded to make a quick return to management at Parkhead, a prospect which would interest the club, while Malky Mackay has been similarly tight-lipped on the subject.
Owen Coyle, who turned down the post back in 2009, would not do so again, while former Brighton and Hove Albion boss Oscar Garcia is also in the running. The picture should become clearer once West Brom fill their managerial vacancy in the next week or so.