Published 02/02/2010 | 09:23
Keane to make debut tonight after sealing shock Celtic loan
ROBBIE KEANE arrived in Glasgow to a rapturous welcome last night after completing a dramatic loan switch to Celtic and immediately trained his sights on catching SPL leaders Rangers.
The Dubliner, deemed surplus to requirements by Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp, stole the deadline day headlines again after Celtic’s Irish owner Dermot Desmond stepped in to match his estimated £75,000 a week salary for the remainder of the season – although Keane denied any knowledge of how the swoop was funded.
Spurs had earlier rejected the advances of West Ham who refused to pay a £1 million fee in addition to commitment that they would cover the Irish captain’s entire salary.
The 29-year-old agreed terms with Celtic from London before flying north and his registration has been cleared to make his debut at Kilmarnock tonight, with Tony Mowbray’s side 10 points behind in the Scottish title race.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” said Keane in a midnight press conference, after greeting the thousands of fans who waited for his arrival. “It’s no secret over the years I’ve been a Celtic fan and I’m hoping to bring a lot of success in the short time I’m here.
With the squad of players that are here, there’s no reason why we can’t (win the league).
“It’s overwhelming, an incredible reception. You never think as a player you’re going to get that kind of reception,” he added.
“I wanted to play football, first and foremost. I always wanted to play for Celtic and I didn’t want to come here at 34 years of age at the end of my career and struggling. I think I’m coming here at the peak of my career.”
Keane had fallen behind Peter Crouch and Jermaine Defoe in the pecking order at Spurs, amid persistent murmurs about his relationship with Redknapp.
THE arrival of Eidur Gudjohnsen at White Hart Lane afforded the Spurs boss the opportunity to let Keane go just a year after shelling out £12 million to bring him back to the club from Liverpool, and duly appointing him as captain.
“I’d to get my thinking cap on, and there wasn’t much persuading to be honest,” said Keane, in relation to the pace at which events moved yesterday, while refusing to suggest that he would make the move permanent.
“At the end of the day I’m on loan until the end of the season to get games. It works well for all of us and that’s as far as I’ve thought about anything.”
Hoops chief executive Peter Lawwell added: “We've been pretty persistent in the last few windows in terms of keeping in touch with what he was wanting to do.
“Up until today, things were not looking very great at all. He always knew we were very, very keen to get him.”