Former Hibs icons in line for SPFL job as Celtic 'intensively' scout

Latest Scottish football news and rumours
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While international breaks usually allow for a time of respite and recovery, Ross County will now be using the two weeks to seek out a new manager after sacking Malky Mackay.

The Inverness side have endured nine games without a win and currently sit eleventh in the league. Speaking about their former boss, the Dingwall board said: "Malky has brought so much more to the club and the wider staff than just football management."

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"The board would like to put on record our thanks for his contribution over the last two-and-a-half years and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career."

As Ross County now look to secure their next manager in time to welcome Kilmarnock in two weekends time, here is all the latest news from Hibs, Hearts and their Scottish Premiership rivals...

Ex-Hibs icons in line for SPFL job

Former Celtic and Hibernian boss Neil Lennon is the bookmakers' favourite to be named the new manager of Ross County, followed closely by former Scotland midfielder Scott Brown, according to Sports Lens (Glasgow Times). The report said: "Lennon is the prime candidate and has a 3/1 chance of taking the helm, closely followed by former Fleetwood Town manager Scott Brown at 4/1."

Lennon was last in the dugout while in charge of Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia before being sacked after a poor run of results. The 52-year-old managed Hibs from 2016-2019 before returning for a second spell at Celtic. The ex-Hoops captain Brown, on the other hand, began his playing career at Easter Road in 2002 and enjoyed a season as manager of Fleetwood Town from 2022-2023.

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Naomi Rose, a spokesperson from Sportslens, said: "Neil Lennon and Scott Brown are the frontrunners for the Ross County job but don't discount Kevin Thomson."

Celtic 'intensively' scout Japanese international

Kanji Okunuki, the 24-year-old Japanese attacking midfielder currently playing for Nurnberg in Bundesliga 2, is on Celtic's shortlist (Sky Sports Germany). Ben Heckner has taken to X to say that the Hoops have become increasingly more interested in the midfielder in the past week but there is, as yet, no concrete offer.

Born in Saitama, Okunuki progressed through the youth ranks with local club Omiya Ardija before graduating to the top team in January 2018. 14 goals in almost 100 appearances caught the attention of Gornik Zabrze of Poland. He joined the Ekstraklasa club on a season-long loan in August 2022 before heading to Nurnberg last summer. He's scored four goals in 15 appearances for the Bundesliga 2 outfit and received his first call up to the Japan squad last month.

Premier League clubs battle for Celtic star

Crystal Palace have joined Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Lille, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Wolfsburg and Leicester City in monitoring Celtic midfielder Matt O'Riley (Scottish Sun). O’Riley, 22, has scored six times and provided five assists in 12 appearances in the Scottish Premiership, adding two more assists in the Champions League. He signed a new contract that would see him remain at Parkhead until January 2027 but the Scottish Sun believes bids north of £10million would give the Scottish champions something to think about, although any move is more likely to happen next summer than in January.

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