Ronny Deila will step down as manager of Scottish giants Celtic at the end of the season, the Norwegian announced on Wednesday.
Celtic are currently eight points clear of Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership and on course for a fifth successive title, but Deila’s position has been under scrutiny for some time.
Celtic have made little progress in Europe under the 40-year-old and were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Old Firm rivals Rangers following a semi-final penalty shootout defeat on Sunday.
“It is vital that the club comes first, instead of me being the focus,” Deila said in a statement on the Celtic website.
“Hopefully now the team and the club can be the focus as we enter this final important period of the season.
“It was an absolute privilege to be named manager of Celtic, such a wonderful football club, and I have enjoyed my time here immensely.”
Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who left the club in 2014, and former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes, who previously played for Celtic, are among the contenders touted to succeed Deila.
On the possibility of succeeding Deila, the Northern Irishman told Britain’s Press Association: “I would definitely be interested.”
He added: “I was associated with the club for 15 years, I missed it when I left as a player and there are aspects that you miss even now at 44 years of age.”
Deila, who was on a one-year rolling contract, was appointed as manager in 2014 following success in his homeland with Stromsgodet.
He led Celtic to a league and League Cup double in his first campaign, but has twice failed to steer the club through the Champions League qualifying play-offs.
Celtic reached the Europa League last 32 in 2014-15, losing to Inter Milan, but finished bottom of their Europa League group this season. They were also eliminated from the League Cup in the third round by Ross County.
“There have been some disappointments and times when we have not achieved what we had hoped for, and I’m realistic and honest enough to admit that,” Deila added.
“But I know that the players, myself and my back-room team have always given everything we had to bring success to our supporters.
“I will never forget the welcome I received almost two years ago at Celtic Park from so many fans. When I joined Celtic I knew I was coming to one of the world’s great football clubs.”
Celtic chairman Ian Bankier said: “I would like to thank Ronny for his contribution to the club and, on behalf of the Celtic Board, give him our best wishes for the future in everything he does.
“Ronny is a fine man with strong values of honesty and integrity. He has had some success, which we have enjoyed, and I know all our fans will back Ronny and the players as he looks to bring us more success in the shape of a second league title.”