In January of 2006 a Mr. R. Keane made his debut for Celtic in a Scottish Cup shocker at Broadwood. Clyde won 2-1 as Roy Keane made his big splash in Scottish Football by contributing absolutely nothing in a ten game spell. Four years later and another boyhood Celtic fan, fancies a wee stint in ‘Paradise’ and a rumour that has been derided as pretty ridiculous over the past few seasons have come to fruition.
Tony Mowbray had a problem, Celtic play nice football but like previous club West Brom would have problems scoring on a night out with Alan McGregor, John Terry and Tiger Woods. Well maybe Mogga is learning because he has perhaps made the biggest move of the January transfer window in acquiring Tottenham striker Robbie Keane on loan until then end of the season. It is a move that has to be commended. Walter Smith, through gritted teeth no doubt, was one of the first to applaud Celtic for showing a bit of ambition, even if it is only for a few months. But what, if any, impact will Keane have on the Scottish game?
It is fair to say in terms of media coverage it has been a stand out success already. Peter Lawwell enjoys a good bit of PR and as the quietest transfer window in 7 years came to an end the big story was happening at Celtic Park. At 11pm Robbie Keane was paraded in front of the fans in scenes reminiscent to when Alan Shearer made his return to Newcastle United. But how on earth has it come to pass that Robbie Keane is donning the Hoops? There can be much posturing from Celtic and Keane himself that this is a childhood dream, and I’m sure it is at £65,000 a week, but you would imagine that Robbie imagined his arrival to be similar to that of Roy’s, a stop off point at the end of his career.
Keane is a good player however I will argue to the day I die that he is not world class, £70m worth of transfer fees does not merit a world class tag. If money is the marker for being world class then by that reckoning Lionel Messi is utter garbage and Paolo Maldini just got lucky for over 20 years. The decline set in with an ill fated spell with Liverpool. £20m was a ridiculous fee for a player of Keane’s ability especially considering the manager never seemed to fancy him to start off with. He was in the form of his life at Spurs before the move however such were his experience at Anfield that when he did return to the place he never should of left he didn’t seem the same player. Add in the rise to prominence of Jermain Defoe and the unique attributes of Peter Crouch and Keane was very much the odd man out.
Celtic need goals, Robbie Keane needs football, will this deal go past this summer. I would be very surprised. At 29 Keane is a striker short on confidence and game time but not on quality. The vindication of the move by Harry Redknapp also suggests that his future is far from dead and buried at White Heart Lane and this will be viewed as chance for Keane to rediscover some form at a lower level. On the face of it, it sounds terrific, a proven international goalscorer with the club close to his heart. However is this move too much too late for Celtic and Mowbray. They are ten points behind Rangers and it is for the Ibrox team to lose and as shown at Rugby Park he can’t do it by himself, only really troubling the impressive Cammy Bell once from close range. The stats well tell of this deal has been a success on the pitch at the end of the season as much as it will turn out to be for Celtic PLC off of it. I for one am glad to see that despite it all the SPL can still surprise us all.