By Alex Stevens

Stiliyan Petrov has backed Henrik Larsson to return to Celtic and become the new manager in succession to Ronny Deila.

The former Celtic midfielder believes the Parkhead legend is the ideal man to replace outgoing boss Ronny Deila.

Larsson, 44, currently manages Helsingborgs in his native Sweden but Petrov is convinced his former team-mate would be perfect for the Hoops hotseat.

“I hope Henrik is the man,” Petrov told the Scottish Sun. “I would love to see him in charge of Celtic and I think everyone would feel that way.

“It would be a good challenge for Henrik and an honour for him too. You never know if you’re ready for something until you try it, but I definitely feel it’s time for Henrik.

“I’ve not spoken to him about it. As a former Celtic player, and a Celtic supporter, I really hope they turn to Henrik and that he says yes.

“I think the fans would love having someone like Henrik, with all of his experience at Celtic and across big games in European football.

“He has great contacts and has a winning mentality. The stadium has been empty and he would definitely fill it up again.”

Larsson is regarded as a Celtic all-time great for his playing exploits in seven seasons at the club, scoring 242 goals in 315 matches to make him the third leading scorer in the club’s history.

Norwegian Deila, who succeeded Neil Lennon in June 2014, has decided to step down after his position came under increased scrutiny following last Sunday’s Scottish Cup exit to Rangers on penalties.

The Celtic news from Wednesday is that Deila will leave Parkhead at the end of the season even though he is on the verge of steering the club to a fifth consecutive league title.

Former Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes is the current bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Deila.