Published Tuesday, 24 September 2013
Neil Lennon during a training session at Lennoxtown, Glasgow. (© PA)
Paolo Di Canio was dramatically sacked after a tumultuous 13-game spell, and Lurgan-born Lennon has been tipped as one of the favourites for the job.
Speaking to talkSPORT, McKinlay said he thought Lennon would take the post.
"He's done a fantastic job at Celtic, he's got them into the Champions League again this season, despite a number of key players leaving.
"It's no wonder he's being linked with big clubs."
The former Hearts full-back said that his ex-teammate Di Canio had been "harshly treated" - but expected the Italian would move on somewhere else.
He believes that Di Canio would have been a hit on Wearside if he'd been given more time by the club.
"I think he's been very harshly treated," he said. "He's an honest man, a great trainer and a great professional.
"He expects high standards and he didn't get that at Sunderland. The least he expects from his players is 100 percent effort, and he clearly wasn't getting that from the players.
"He managed to keep them up last year and it was very important for them to stay in the Premier League."
He continued: "They've got short memories at Sunderland - the board, the players and the supporters - because I think Paolo Di Canio, if he was given time, would have been a great manager for them.
"People are calling for passion in the game, that's what you get in Paolo Di Canio and I think he'll probably get another job elsewhere."
Meanwhile, Lennon has refuted the rumours, saying that he was not aware of being linked with anything.
© UTV News