ROY Keane yesterday expanded on his reasons for rejecting the Celtic manager's post last summer by claiming that he was "10th choice" for the job, but still left the door open to an offer in the future.

Keane met Celtic's majority shareholder Dermot Desmond in Dublin following Neil Lennon's departure from the club but said this week that he could not agree on the terms of a contract and declined the opportunity to succeed the Northern Irishman. Ronny Deila was subsequently appointed as Lennon's successor with Henrik Larsson also claiming that he had turned down the job.

Speaking at the launch of his explosive new autobiography, The Second Half, Keane was asked whether he would consider the position should it become available again.

He said: "I think you have to be open-minded. I've tried to explain the situation about what happened in the summer with Celtic. I was probably about 10th choice. I've heard on the grapevine that one or two other people had turned it down, which wasn't an issue for me.

"But at the time negotiations didn't go the way I'd have hoped they would have gone but I'm not sitting around waiting for people to lose their jobs. I'm not that type of personality.

"I have to be careful what I say because there's a new Celtic manager and you want to wish him well. However, the madness of the game means you just don't know what's around the corner. I honestly hope all managers do well, but of course the game doesn't work that way and managers do lose their jobs."

Keane went on to lambast Sir Alex Ferguson for the way the Scot, in his memoirs published last year, criticised him and other Manchester United players who helped the club dominate English football and win two Champions League trophies.

Keane said it was unlikely he would ever be able to forgive Ferguson, adding: "I think my book is a fair reflection on the situations I have had over the last couple of years, whether it be with players or managers, and I have been pretty harsh, probably, with myself in a lot of the situations, the mistakes I made. The stuff that has been said to me over the years, even from ex-team-mates, is a pack of lies, just lies and lies and lies and sometimes you just say: 'Listen,

I have got to get up and say something myself and defend myself a little bit,' and hopefully the book will reflect that.

"It's not all about falling about falling out with people. Strangely enough, in the course of the book

or the course of my career, I

actually don't think I fell out with that many people."

Keane accepted as "fine" that over his long association with Ferguson they had their disagreements and that he departed, but it was the aftermath which annoyed him.stuck in his crawhe had that having worked with Ferguson for a long time, they had that The problem I had, I suppose, and one of the reasons when you are writing stuff and you are reflecting on it, is that when you have worked with somebody for such a long time - and obviously we had our disagreements and I departed, and I have no problems with that, it's fine.

"It's afterwards, when people

start coming out with all sorts of nonsense," said Keane. "For Alex Ferguson to criticise not just myself, but other players who were part of a team that brought some good days to lots of supporters; for him to criticise that when you think of what he made out of it - he made millions of pounds out of it . . .

"He got his statues, he's got his stand named after him - to come back and criticise . . . I said at the time, I wasn't too bothered about myself, but to criticise people who brought him success was ridiculous.

"Will I ever forgive him? I don't know. Listen, I don't know. We'll see if we ever cross paths again. I'm sure we will - cross paths, I mean."

Keane is also still bitter about the circumstances surrounding his departure from United in 2005 when in an interview with the club's in-house TV station, he was accused of being critical of several of his team-mates after a heavy defeat away to Sunderland.

"There was a lot of nonsense coming out from United about this leaked [MUTV] video coming out that shouldn't have been played. They were quite happy to let that come out. They'd just been knocked out of the Champions League.

"There was a disagreement about the video but it was just nonsense. None of the players had an issue about it except Ferguson and Carlos Queiroz and they had already made their minds up anyway. Again, no problem. That wasn't the issue. It was the way it was handled, the statements and stuff coming out about me. I'm pretty sure I know the source. Ferguson has pals in the media - I can spot them a mile away - and he put little snippets about me out there. It was lies, basic lies. So

I had to come out and say 'listen . . .' and now is the time. I had to bide my time and I've waited long enough."

Keane does not deny Ferguson was a major influence on his career but credits his team-mates with having more to do with his success.

"People are always quick to praise coaches and managers, but the people who helped me the most from a football point of view were my team-mates. I've never worked with a coach or a manager who inspired me to do something. The people

I learned the most from were Stuart Pearce, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, these boys. When you go into battle with them . . .

"I think managers today get too much credit and also, on the other side, they get too much criticism when things go wrong.

"People always look back at my career and the lads at United were absolutely fantastic. The days I had with them were probably the best of my life.

"So for people to try to tarnish that and have little digs, that's why you have to come out fighting.

"I understand it's unusual for people to hit back at [Ferguson] because people in the media are afraid of him and other managers are intimidated by him. But I decided 'enough is enough'."