| -0.2°C Dublin

Hartson: Robbie can't do it alone

John Hartson has slaughtered the Celtic players who turned Robbie Keane's debut into a nightmare.

The feelgood factor surrounding Keane's signing lasted less than a day as Celtic lost 1-0 at Kilmarnock to leave them trailing Rangers by 10 points with just 15 games left to play.

Keane looked bewildered and lost on his Celtic debut but Hartson -- who scored 100 goals for Celtic -- absolved the striker of blame and blasted his under performing team-mates.

The Welsh striker said: "I was working as a pundit at the game and I was virtually speechless. I almost didn't know how to put what I was seeing into words. After all the euphoria coming from Keane's signing, the display left me feeling empty.

"Robbie played well. He showed touches of genuine class without getting the breaks in front of goal that he could have done with on his debut.

"But he can rest easy knowing there wasn't much more he could have done to change the result. He gave it everything he had on the night but not one other Celtic player could say the same."

Hartson added: "When supporters expect one player to win them the league, it's understandable. When players are waiting for the same thing, it's disgraceful.

"So can someone please explain to me why nine outfield players in the Celtic side at Kilmarnock thought it was acceptable? Because believe me it wasn't.

"Robbie Keane is a world-class striker and someone who can do plenty out on a football pitch. But win games single-handedly? I'm sorry, he's just not that good.

"He needs help out there, but looking at the squad (Celtic boss) Tony Mowbray has assembled he's simply not going to get it."

Celtic face Dunfermline tomorrow in the Scottish Cup with the trophy giving the club their most realistic chance of silverware this season.

Meanwhile, Diomansy Kamara insists he was delighted to be upstaged by Keane mere hours after being unveiled himself as Celtic's big transfer window signing.

Kamara was the centre of attention after joining the Hoops on loan from Fulham on Monday morning.

But his capture could hardly have been more quickly forgotten once news emerged Keane was on his way from Tottenham.

Yet, rather than act as if his thunder had been stolen, Kamara was as giddy as any Celtic fan about the capture of his fellow 29-year-old.

"When you have top-class players in your team, you're always excited to play with these kinds of players," Kamara said.

"You play football to play with the best players. When we saw him arrive, we said, 'Ah, nice'. It's better he signed for Celtic than for Rangers!"



EXpectancy

Kamara may not have joined the thousands gathered outside Parkhead for their idol's midnight unveiling but he could appreciate their excitement.

"Robbie Keane is a big star and he is a Celtic fan," the Senegal striker said. "I'm so happy for him. I think he came here to play, to score goals, and this is the most important thing for everyone."

He added: "He played for Inter Milan, for Liverpool, he was the captain of Ireland, he was the captain also at Tottenham.

"It's massive for us to have a player like this in our team. He can make the difference."

Manager Tony Mowbray backed Keane to rise to that challenge. "Every top player has expectation," he said.

"You don't become a top player and you don't have the career that Robbie's had if you don't deal with expectation and the demands put on you. It's what you do when you go on the pitch.

"You put your boots on, you go and score some goals, you make your team tick. And if you don't, you don't get to the level of expectancy that he's got upon his shoulders."

CELTIC v DUNFERMLINE

LIVE SKY SPORTS 3 (12.15)


Privacy