Cape Town - Roy Keane has revealed that he turned down the chance to become Celtic manager because the club failed to demonstrate enough desire to sign him.
Despite the Celtic officials' steadfast insistence that no firm offer was made to the Republic of Ireland assistant boss, Keane claims in his updated autobiography, The Second Half, that majority shareholder Dermot Desmond told him the job was his.
But instead of pushing the boat out for him as they searched for Neil Lennon's successor, Celtic presented Keane with an unappealing take-it-or-leave-it offer laced with impositions and restrictions on the composition of his backroom staff.
"They were playing the part - 'It's Celtic' - you should almost go up there for nothing.
"Celtic wanted me but they weren't showing how much they wanted me."
He adds: "I got a call: would I go and have a chat with Dermot Desmond? I'd met him once before, in 2005, when I was signing to play for Celtic.
"At the end of the chat, he said: 'The job is yours'.
"It was all pretty straightforward. There would be one or two restrictions, about staff. They had already picked the man who would be my assistant and they were insisting on him.
"It didn't scare me off but it did get me thinking. It wasn't an ideal start. Were they doubting me already?
"Over the years, I had always said: 'If you're offered the Celtic job, you don't turn it down'. I was in a predicament... and my gut feeling was saying: 'You're on your own with this one'."
After seeking advice and mulling over the terms the former Manchester United star came to the conclusion that the offer "wasn't rocking my boat."
He said: "I asked Paul Gilroy, the League Managers' Association lawyer, to speak to Celtic to discuss terms. Money hadn't been mentioned yet.
"I got in touch with Celtic's chief executive, Peter Lawwell and asked him to give me a ballpark figure before negotiations got going. He mentioned a figure and he said: 'But that's it'. Paul told me there were a lot of clauses in the contract that he wasn't happy with. And the figures were non-negotiable."
Keane said there was a sense of déjà vu about the negotiations. They reminded him of the time when he signed for the club in 2005 following his unexpected exit from Old Trafford.
"I got my head around that," he said. "But it felt a bit too familiar. I had been down this road when I signed for Celtic as a player. I felt they wanted me but weren't showing how much they wanted me.
"We played Italy on the Saturday and I had a message on my phone on Sunday from Dermot Desmond. They wanted a heads-up by tomorrow, Monday. I thought about the Celtic offer. It wasn't rocking my boat."