Chris Sutton identifies three Celtic players who will be key for the new manager

By Alex Stevens

Chris Sutton has identified Leigh Griffiths, Kieran Tierney and Patrick Roberts as the three key Celtic players for next season.

The former Hoops striker is convinced the trio will be integral members of the team whoever takes over the reigns from Ronny Deila.

The Norwegian 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 at the end of the current campaign.

Roy Keane, David Moyes, Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert are among those who have been strongly linked to the soon-to-be-vacant post.

Sutton has not been too impressed by Celtic this season even though they cakewalked to a fifth consecutive Scottish Premiership title that was secured last weekend but he says there are some fine players in the Parkhead ranks.

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“The form of Leigh Griffiths means the new manager will have a potent goalscorer on the books who has shown he can hit the net regularly and at every level,” Sutton wrote in his Daily Record column.

“Kieran Tierney has been the bright spot of the season. Celtic have unearthed a real talent with the youngster and a new man in charge will be delighted to have him.

“Patrick Roberts is another who can be a key player next season. He’s looked the real deal in the last few months of the season and his goals on Sunday were superb.”

Striker Griffiths, 25, has scored an impressive 39 goals in 50 Celtic matches this season, including 30 in 33 league encounters.

Left-back Tierney, 18, swept the boards with Scotland’s Young Player of the Year awards after his stunning debut season and is in line for a bumper new contract this summer.

Right-winger Roberts, 19, has showed glimpses of his remarkable talent after joining in January on an 18-month loan from Manchester City.

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

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

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