NEIL Lennon has confirmed first team coach Damien Duff will leave Celtic at the end of next month to work full-time with the Republic of Ireland.

Dublin-born Duff, who won 100 caps for Ireland, was appointed assistant with his national team when Stephen Kenny replaced Mick McCarthy as manager back in April.

Lennon revealed the 41-year-old, who was brought to the Glasgow by his predecessor Brendan Rodgers in January last year, will see out the remainder of his contract.

The Northern Irishman, whose team won their ninth consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership title last week, admitted that losing Duff was “a blow” but stressed he would take his time identifying a replacement.

“He’s at home in Ireland but his contract doesn’t run out until the end of June,” he said. “So if we come back on 10th we might have him until the end of the month which might buy us time to look to bring someone in or promote from within.

“I spoke to him on Monday and he was in good spirits, but he’ll join the FAI. It’s a blow because he contributed immensely and I got on great with him.

“He’s still in his formative years as a coach, but he made a huge contribution and there was a real good chemistry there so he’ll be difficult to replace, that’s for sure.

“We were waiting on everything getting called first and then we’ll look to replace him, but it’s not at the forefront of our minds as we’ll have plenty of time to see what we’ll do.”

Meanwhile, Lennon admitted that discussions are taking place with Jonny Hayes and Craig Gordon, whose contracts run out this summer, over their futures.

“Talks are ongoing with representatives and the club,” he said. “I don’t really know where we are at this stage. We have until the end of June to get agreements in place one way or the other.”