By Alex Stevens

Chris Sutton has claimed Paul Lambert, Malky Mackay and Neil Lennon are the three leading contenders to become the new Celtic manager.

Republic of Ireland No2 Roy Keane has been installed as the new bookmakers favourite to take over the Parkhead hotseat at the end of the season.

Earlier in the week, Irish betting firm BoyleSports even suspended betting on the former Manchester United skipper being appointed the new boss.

But Sutton is convinced that Keane and another hotly tipped possibility David Moyes can be ruled out of the running because they will not get the control they would demand over transfers.

The former Celtic and Blackburn striker believes the influence of chief executive Peter Lawwell would be too much for some of the big names, who also include Martin O’Neill.

“Lawwell said yesterday he doesn’t control the transfers but I’m not so sure and that’s why I think you can rule out the likes of Keane and my top choices, O’Neill himself and David Moyes,” Sutton wrote in his Daily Record column.

“An old-school manager would want to run the club and that’s why if I was a betting man I’d go and put a wager on a Paul Lambert, Neil Lennon or Malky Mackay. Someone who Peter will be able to manage.

“Lambert did a good job at Norwich City but I just don’t feel he’s strong enough to manage Celtic and Peter Lawwell would dominate him. I like Paul, he’s a good guy, but I just don’t think he’d be the right fit.”

Ronny Deila and his assistant John Collins have announced they will leave the club in the summer and the club have said the new man will be appointed by the end of this month.

In other Celtic news, the club are ready to offer an emerging star a lucrative contract to fend off interest from Liverpool.