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Celtic owner hails 'great manager' Rodgers as appointment nears

Celtic owner Dermot Desmond has talked up the managerial abilities of Brendan Rodgers as the appointment of a new Parkhead boss nears.

Rodgers is reportedly a strong contender to replace Ronny Deila, and recently described the Scottish champions as "one of the great iconic clubs in the world".

Desmond revealed six candidates are in the running, with former Celtic boss Neil Lennon and ex-players Roy Keane and David Moyes in the frame.

"All of the people that we've interviewed merit the job," Desmond told BBC Sport.

"We're excited about the managers we've interviewed and we've discussed, and hopefully in the next few days we will decide, and enter negotiations. 

"There's lots of people - I wouldn't speculate on who is the person at this point in time."

Pushed on whether an approach for the former Liverpool boss had been made, Desmond added: "I can't tell a lie.

"He's a great manager. He's proved it at Liverpool and I think he's a worthy candidate for Celtic - as all the other candidates are."

Celtic released a statement on Wednesday, dismissing any suggestion Rodgers is the front-runner for the job.

"The club has been and will be speaking to a number of candidates and we will take our time to go through this process thoroughly and in the proper manner. There is no 'preferred' candidate.

"We will continue this process with the aim of identifying a new manager who we believe will deliver success to the club.

"Clearly we will not be able to provide daily updates on this issue. However, our supporters will be the first to know when a new manager has been appointed."