Paul Lambert has been installed as the odds-on favourite to become the next Celtic manager after confirming he will quit Blackburn Rovers this summer.
A former Parkhead captain, Lambert will activate a release clause in the two-and-a-half-year contract he signed in November following the final Sky Bet Championship clash with Reading on May 7.
And bookmakers immediately priced the 40-times capped ex-Scotland international as a shorter price than former favourite David Moyes to replace Ronny Deila.
Celtic’s board are currently working on a shortlist consisting of top targets Moyes, Brendan Rodgers and Roy Keane.
A second, longer list incorporating the likes of Lambert, Neil Lennon, Michael O’Neill and Malky Mackay will come into play should the club fail to lure a crowd-pleasing managerial big beast north.
First-choice Moyes has yet to turn the job down formally. A return to Everton is the Glaswegian’s first choice despite reports south of the border suggesting Mark Hughes is now the top target of the Goodison club, and Brendan Rodgers is also odds-on to make a return to Swansea following his Liverpool sacking.
Keane turned the Celtic job down two years ago, but has yet to sign a new contract as Republic of Ireland assistant manager after admitting he wants to return to frontline club management after the Euro 2016 finals.
However, Lambert will also be carefully considered after enjoying a strong start to his managerial career, leading Norwich City to the Barclays Premier League after back-to-back promotions.