Lennon Keane on Robbie deal

Interim boss won't give up on permanent deal for 'world class' star

Keane: 12 goals in 12 for Bhoys

Interim Celtic boss Neil Lennon insists he will not give up on landing loan star Robbie Keane on a permanent basis.

Tottenham striker Keane has netted 12 goals in 12 games since his shock January arrival on a six-month loan deal, with fans desperate for him to remain at Parkhead.

Keane insists no decision will be made until the end of the season, but while Lennon remains in charge he has vowed to do all he can to influence his decision.

"I'm not giving up on him staying," Lennon said. "It will ultimately be Robbie's decision but I will be begging him every day from here on in to stay if he can.

"We need that calibre of player at a club like this, we need a 25-30 goals-a-season player if we can go out and get them.

"He is world class. His pedigree, calibre and his record speaks for itself.

"He's a very intelligent footballer, he has a cool head under pressure and is a good finisher, and he has that touch of charisma that all the good players have.

"He can stand up against anyone in Britain and parts of Europe as well and he's been a huge player for us in the short time he has been here."

Record

Lennon is bidding to maintain his 100% winning record as boss against Ross County on Saturday in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.

Failure to overcome the First Division side would seriously harm Lennon's chances of landing a permanent contract, a fate he is all too aware of.

"It would diminish my opportunity. It won't all hinge on the one game but ultimately I would be disappointed if we didn't go through and I would certainly have a look at myself and ask the questions as to why.

"But I am trying to be as positive as possible and I think we have a decent enough chance of going through. It's a huge game for us in terms of our season.

"We are two games away from winning a bit of silverware and winning would give the players an incentive for the rest of the season.

"We are on a hiding to nothing really but that's what it is here most weeks. If we win we are expected to win and if we lose it's a disaster.

"But it's a challenge and I enjoy the challenge. I think I have got a good chance (of getting the job).

Positive

"But no matter what happens I will view it as a positive experience. I am relishing it and whether it goes wrong or doesn't go wrong I will put the experience to good use the next time, wherever that will be."

Lennon admits he is wary of County's confidence but has done his research as he comes to terms with the life of a manager.

"As a player you always thought about the game but this is the next step," said the former Leicester midfielder.

"The real difference is that you are looking after 30 different personalities whereas you are looking after yourself as a player.

"You don't stop thinking about things, you can never switch off and I have enjoyed it.

"How hard it is to pick a team, pick the right players for the eventualities that might happen, things that you never thought about as a player.

"I have watched Ross County all week - my head is buzzing. I saw them against Hibs and Dunfermline and I saw them four weeks ago against Partick Thistle.

"They are a good team, a confident team, who are well organised and well drilled and they will be giving it everything they have got."