By Alex Stevens

Celtic expect to appoint a new manager within the next two weeks, according to chief executive Peter Lawwell.

The process of finding Ronny Deila’s replacement has started in earnest and there is a growing likelihood the board will reach a decision before the end of this month.

The leading contenders include Roy Keane Brendan Rodgers, David Moyes, Paul Lambert, Malky Mackay and Neil Lennon, who would welcome a return as manager.

Asked when he expected an announcement to be made, Lawwell told the Scotland Herald: “It won’t be for another week or two, I would have thought. We have just started the process.

“We will get the best man available who wants to come to Scotland. We have strengths and weaknesses, but we need to get in the best and get the fans back. I hope that’s what we do.

“It is not my decision. It’s the board’s decision. I work for the board. I’m the hired hand. I don’t have excessive power here.”

Some bookmakers this week suspended betting on former Manchester United and Ireland captain Keane, who would certainly help sell season tickets even if many supporters have reservations about their club appointing someone with such a chequered managerial career.

“The challenge clearly is that we go for the best available, the best of who wants to be here in Scotland,” Lawwell told the Herald. “That is the challenge; getting the best of who wants a career in Scotland.”

The chief executive has made it clear in a series of interviews this week that Celtic will hand no more than a £10million warchest to their new manager in the summer transfer window.

There have been calls for the newly-crowned Scottish champions to spend £20million on new players in a bid to reach the Champions League group stages.

But Parkhead chief executive Lawwell insisted the club will not spend beyond their means and take on debt.

In other Celtic news, the Scottish club have watched a £10million-rated English centre-back eight times as they eye up a summer bid.