Charlie Nicholas has claimed he would be “astonished” if Celtic appoint Roberto Martinez as their new manager.

The Belgium boss is odds-on favourite at 2/9 with bookmakers Paddy Power to be the permanent successor to Brendan Rodgers after leapfrogging interim manager Neil Lennon in the market.

But former Hoops striker Nicholas is unconvinced that former Everton, Wigan Athletic and Swansea City boss Martinez will be at Parkhead next season.

“There’s been a bit of gossip about Belgium boss Roberto Martinez being in the frame, along with his assistant, Shaun Maloney. I’d be astonished if that was to happen,” Nicholas told the Daily Express.

“Celtic fans will say it’s realistic because the Hoops board pushed the boat out for Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers was a big name on big money but he needed Celtic as much as Celtic needed him. I’m not sure Martinez needs Celtic as much as they need him.

“But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an ambitious continental coach out there who could do a job at Celtic.”

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Football Insider verdict:

Nicholas isn’t the only person who would be stunned if Martinez rocked up at Celtic Park. In 15 months’ time, it would make perfect sense, when Euro 2020 has finished and Martinez, in all likelihood, looks to return to club management. But this summer? Surely not. Belgium are one of the favourites to win next summer’s European Championships and the Spaniard has the fortune of overseeing a golden generation led by Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Thibaut Courtois and company. Why walk out on the chance of being part of something special on the global stage? Martinez is accomplished enough, and well enough regarded, to get plenty enough big-club offers when he leaves the Belgium job. He would be a good choice, and who could blame Celtic for being interested? But, surely, there’s not a cat-in-hell’s chance right now.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that one of the club’s star players is set to sign for a big hitter.