EDDIE HOWE has emerged as the leading contender for the vacant Celtic job.
SunSport understands the former Bournemouth boss is seriously interested in replacing Neil Lennon in the Parkhead hotseat.
We can exclusively reveal Howe has started his own due diligence on the behind-the-scenes structure of the club.
That’s seen him sound out trusted contacts within the game who have connections to Celtic.
Now, after taking advice, Howe is considering the possibility of a shock return to management.
It would be seen as a major coup for the Parkhead board to lure the highly- respected Englishman north to Scotland.
Howe left Bournemouth by mutual consent last summer after eight years in charge.
He took the Cherries up through the divisions and into the cash-rich Premier League on a tight budget.
But following last season’s relegation to the Championship, he opted to move on after talks with the owners.
Despite that disappointment, Howe has still been tipped for a return to the game at a high level.
He’s been linked with Newcastle, where manager Steve Bruce has been under pressure.
It initially seemed Celtic wouldn’t interest him as he looked to get back into management.
Since then Roy Keane and Thierry Henry have thrown their hat into the ring, while Scotland boss Steve Clarke has refused to rule himself out.
But Howe could blow them all out of the water.
It’s understood he has been sounded out and made it known he would consider the job.
Crucially, that’s seen him do his own homework and get in touch with people he knows within football to decide whether it’s the right move for him at this stage of his career.
Howe would need guarantees that he’d be able to implement the changes he felt were required to challenge Rangers next season and a sizeable transfer kitty to revamp the squad.
Meanwhile, Nick Hammond has quit as Head of Football Operations ‘to pursue new opportunities’.
Outgoing Celts chief exec Peter Lawwell said: “We’d like to thank Nick for his contribution over the past two seasons.”