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Roy Keane was ’embarrassed’ by time at Celtic, said ‘welcome to hell’ after first game and enjoyed ‘hatred’ of Rangers

ROY KEANE has been linked with a sensational return to Celtic as manager but will hope it goes more smoothly than his single season as a player there.

The Manchester United legend, 49, is currently the favourite to succeed Neil Lennon.

Roy Keane is the favourite to become new Celtic manager
Keane signed for Celtic as a player in 2005

From his days being brought up in Cork, Keane always had an affection for Celtic and that feeling helped him join the Hoops in 2005.

The combative midfielder only featured in Glasgow for one season though, with a hip problem plaguing the latter stages of his illustrious playing career.

He managed just TEN APPEARANCES during his time at Parkhead, even if he ended up with a league title and league cup winners’ medal to his name.

He called time on his playing days in 2006 before moving into management with Sunderland.

With reports that the Hoops have opened talks with the Sky Sports pundit over the vacant hotseat, we take a look back at exactly what Keane has said about the club in the past.

Dream move?

KEANE addressed the affection which drew him to the Parkhead side as his days ticked down at Manchester United in his 2014 biography.

He said: “I wouldn’t have called it a dream but I’d always liked Celtic.

“And the Irish connection would have been on the back of my mind.

“I felt a bit of loyalty to them. This decision was a purely selfish one.

“I just wanted to play for Glasgow Celtic. Celtic is a special club.”


Contract negotiations

ONLY one of the parties was playing hardball as a deal was thrashed out – and it wasn’t Keane.

He ultimately joined the club against the advice of his agent and solicitor Michael Kennedy – in preference to more lucrative alternative offers.

Roy Keane needed little persuasion to join

Then manager Gordon Strachan helped get the deal over the line with an unorthodox sales pitch – telling him he would LIKE him to join although he didn’t particularly NEED him.

In his second autobiography, Keane wrote: “So, I said to myself, ‘F*** him, I’m signing’.”

Disastrous debut

LITTLE did Roy Keane suspect when he arrived that his debut would go down in football folkore.

A ramshackle Clyde side featuring future Scotland star Craig Bryson and marshalled by former Rangers hero Graham Roberts and Celtic star Joe Miller knocked the Hoops out of the Scottish Cup by a 2-1 scoreline.

A shellshocked Keane – who played the game with a Nike tag still on his jersey -had seen it coming to an extent.

He recalled afterwards: “I wasn’t happy with my own game. I did okay, but okay wasn’t enough.

“After the game – the disappointment. As I was taking my jersey off, I noticed the Nike tag was still on it.

“When I got on the bus, John Hartson, a really good guy, was already sitting there and he was eating a packet of crisps – with a fizzy drink.

“I said to myself, ‘Welcome to hell’.”

Old Firm thrills

Keane appeared once in the Glasgow grudge match, earning man of the match honours as he played alongside Neil Lennon in a 1-0 victory at Ibrox.

Earning a booking for a foul on Dado Prso, he recalled: “The start of my Celtic career hadn’t been great – losing at Clyde, and angry fans.

“But then, not long after, we go and win at Rangers, and I’m thinking, ‘this is what it’s all about’.

Keane in action in his one Old Firm appearance

“The atmosphere was brilliant, f****** electric.

“The hatred – I enjoyed all that.

“I got a yellow card for a foul on Pršo and they were baying for a red card. Physically, I must have felt good.

“I was Man of the Match, and that was a little moment of satisfaction, another tiny victory.

“The dressing room afterwards was great. Again, it’s what football is all about.”

Injury woes

BUT this wasn’t the Roy Keane Celtic fans had come to expect.

Not only was the midfielder recovering from a broken foot, he tore his hamstring twice and was seriously slowed down by a hip problem which left him in agony.

Keane goes up for a header with Kilmarnock’s Alan Johnston

“I got back to my hotel in Edinburgh. I lay on the bed. And my hip – I’ve never known pain like it.

“My hip was f***** screaming. Just from the warm-up, from the training.

“It was all that movement; I hadn’t moved properly in months.

“I hadn’t been twisting, holding other players off. And it wasn’t as if I could ease myself back to fitness.

“I couldn’t budge. I thought to myself, ‘You should have retired. You should have just packed it in.”

Embarrassed and Ashamed

While Keane enjoyed his time at Celtic and playing for the “brilliant fans”, he admits in retrospect that he remains EMBARRASSED by this time there.

He told an audience of fans in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast two years ago: “I really enjoyed Celtic even though I done f*** all up there.

“I signed for Celtic in December and physically I hadn’t kicked a ball in two or three months, I’d left United with a broken foot.

Roy Keane’s last stint in football was as assistant to Martin O’Neill at Nottingham Forest

“I go straight into a game up there, I tear my hamstring twice.

“I never justified my role at the club — if anything I’m embarrassed by my time at Celtic.

“What I really enjoyed at Celtic was, it was nice just to be in a different dressing room.

“I had great craic with the United lads but the Celtic boys — Neil Lennon, Petrov, Varga — I really enjoyed the dressing room at Celtic.

“Celtic fans must be looking at me going, ‘you were rubbish’, but it was nice to get a taste of Celtic, brilliant fans.

“But obviously I’m a professional footballer and then the struggle came and I saw the specialist about my hip and I had a year left on my contract.

“I had to go into Celtic every day with my injuries and I was embarrassed. I was ashamed to be going in picking up wages.”

Refusing to congratulate Rangers

Upon Rangers winning title number 55 at the start of March, the ex-Celtic ace refused to congratulate them while featuring on Sky Sports.

The 49-year-old appeared on the Super Sunday line-up with Graeme Souness and Micah Richards on Sunday, March 7 when Celtic failed to beat Dundee United, thus confirming the Light Blues as champs.

When asked if he had any kind words for Steven Gerrard and his newly crowned champions, he said: “For Rangers? No.

“Listen, it’s been a tough year for Celtic but they’ll bounce back next year like all great clubs do.”

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