The imminent appointment of Brendan Rodgers has ended speculation that former New Zealand OlyWhites coach Des Buckingham was among the candidates for the Celtic job.
Buckingham (38), currently head coach of Indian Super League champions Mumbai City, was briefly backed into second favouritism for the Celtic role by bookmakers after he was spotted at Glasgow Airport in early June.
The Scottish Sun reported social media “was ablaze” after bookmakers dropped their odds, including the former Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand age group coach among the contenders.
The Celtic job became vacant when manager Ange Postecoglou left to join Tottenham Hotspur.
Media reports in the United Kingdom now say former Leicester City boss Rodgers is in line to return to Scottish Premiership giants Celtic, who he managed between 2016 and 2019.
The Daily Mail named a number of candidates spoken to by Celtic, including Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna, former Norwich City and Borussia Mönchengladbach manager Daniel Farke and Italian Francesco Farioli who was recently head coach of Turkish club Alanyaspor.
Manchester City’s assistant coach Enzo Maresca was also considered, the report said, but he has since landed Rodgers’ old job at Leicester.
Buckingham was among the potential candidates to replace Danny Hay as the head coach of the All Whites but he publicly ruled himself out early this year, signing a two-year contract extension with Mumbai City.
Mumbai City are part of the global City Football Group that has ownership stakes in 12 clubs, including English Premier League champions Manchester City and A-League club Melbourne City.
Buckingham was an assistant coach at Melbourne City in 2020, after leaving New Zealand where he had coached at the Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand’s national U-20 and U-23 squads.