Keane mark 2

February 8, 2010

Sorry this is a bit late, I’ve been otherwise engaged. That generally involves eating biscuits and pretending to do DIY, but don’t tell the mrs. Anyway, to the football.

I’ll admit it. I was stunned to see Robbie Keane at Celtic Park on the transfer deadline day. It was a real coup for the club, and one which has certainly captured the imagination of the Celtic support, myself included.

I always thought we’d see Keane at Parkhead one day, but like his namesake Roy, I thought it would be at the twilight of his career. And I’d have hated him for it. I was never Roy Keane’s biggest fan, although I’ll admit that was because he played for Manchester United, but I certainly respected him. I respected him for what he gave on the pitch, his commitment, and most of all, his ability. My respect for him started to diminish after his tackle on Alf Inge-Haaland (remember him?) and it disappeared after his Celtic signing.

At 34, his legs had gone, and he knew it. He thought the SPL would be better for him, and he’d win a couple of medals. However, that’s where his thought process stopped. As a self-confessed fan, he COULD have signed for us at a stage where he was able to actually contribute for the club. After all, after his £100,000 a week wages at Old Trafford, he hardly needed the money, did he? It was no surprise then that his Celtic career lasted barely six months.

That’s where Robbie and Roy differ. Robbie has confessed we may only have him til the end of the season, but he’s arrived hungrier than ever. At 29, he’s at the peak of his career, and he may yet help us to at least one trophy this year.

Of course, like Roy his début was a nightmare. There was obvious complacency in our side and we got punished, losing 1-0 at Killie. Are we out the title race? By the end of the month we’ll have a clearer picture. If we take maximum points, beating Rangers along the way, you just don’t know. Certainly it was good to see Keane’s first goal for us yesterday, but I’ve been most impressed with Rasmussen. He’s found his feet quickly, scoring twice, and shows all the instincts of a predator.

However, I have concerns in other areas of the park. Defensively, we’re still shambolic, and considering we have an ex central defender as manager I still can’t fathom why. But my biggest concern is the form of Aiden McGeady. I’d suggest he needs a couple of games out the side, freshen him up, and get him ready for Ibrox at the end of the month.

After all, the next Old Firm game truly could decide the title. A defeat against a tiring Rangers side and it’s all over. A victory, and the chase is on. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Oh, and those going to Celtic Park on Wednesday: make it like a  European night. We asked for a lift from the board and got it with Keano’s signing. Now lets do our bit and help the players get themselves on a winning run.

Keep the faith Bhoys and Ghirls, it’s not over yet.

“When you walk……”

Well, I think we all knew it was coming. Hot on the heels of the sales of Barry Robson, Gary Caldwell, Willo Flood and Chris Killen, now ‘Mick’ McManus and Danny Fox could be on the way out of the club. Some may feel Tony Mowbray is tearing away the soul of the club with some of these sales, but I honestly believe he’s doing the right thing.

McManus has been out of form all season long, as was Gary Caldwell, so it’s no wonder Mogga wasn’t convinced. The Celtic support certainly weren’t, as shambolic defending cost us again and again. We were crying out for a change, and the new arrivals of Scandinavian defenders Hooiveld and Rogne, as well as the return of Darren O’Dea from his loan and the promotion of youngster Josh Thompson, the centre of our defence now has a very different feel to it. Then there is Glenn loovens to bring in, and it seems there is a much hungrier edge to our defence.

Korean midfielder Ki-Sung Yong showed some impressive touches on his début, and with Scott Brown only a few weeks away, our midfield is also looking better. Paddy McCourt showed us in glimpses what he is capable of on Sunday against St Johnstone, and if he keeps that kind of form up he may yet play every week. I think most Celtic fans would love to see McCourt get a good run in the side, as he has looked almost unstoppable at times. My main worry is McGeady, as he appears to have gone backwards this season. His finishing in particular has been atrocious, and he should have put the recent Old Firm game out of sight before we scored.

And that brings us nicely to our strikers. Marc-Antoine Fortune appears to be a very different player at the moment. Since his injury, in my opinion he has come back hungrier, quicker and his finishing has improved. We are missing ‘Skippy’, as both Samaras and Fortune seem to play outside the box. That being said, new signing Morten Rasmussen may change that.

He claims to be a ‘penalty box’ player, and the video below backs up that claim. He could be just what the club needs.Beating St Johnstone was vital, especially as it allowed us to close the gap on Rangers. Now, another win tonight against Hibs and the confidence should start flowing. Hopefully, the new signings get to play a part in that.

Welcome to Celtic Park, lads. Now, go and win the title back.

Cheers for reading, and I’ll appreciate any comments.