Tuesday 12 December 2017

Robbie needs hit in the Bhoy zone

A considerable mutual longing for better times lay behind the surprise engagement of Robbie Keane and Paradise, although the good vibrations and lusty ambitions did not take long to fade.

In the unprepossessing surrounds of Rugby Park, home of lowly Kilmarnock, the much heralded arrival of Keane, a boyhood follower of Celtic, only worsened the pain and frustration and handed over thousands of valuable shares in Schadenfreude to their hot rivals in blue. Keane was jeered by Rangers' fans when he played against them while at Liverpool and a visit to Ibrox isn't far away (February 27) where he can expect more of the same charming reception.

Celtic are having a miserable season under Tony Mowbray and one which is placed in sharp relief by Rangers who seem to have turned the formbook on its head with a pile of goals and an unwavering momentum that now sees them ten points clear. On the odd occasion they slip up, Celtic have been unable to take advantage and the desperation is such that Keane's arrival was seized upon as an almost messianic intervention. It is a costly investment for the club and something of a gamble, but they had little choice other than to make a punt or continue the impotent form of late.

Keane, too, needs the impetus and has taken some risk, having spent more time on the Spurs bench than to his liking. In ways he is a strange cookie. His career stats display good scoring credentials and yet there is something not quite complete about him, even as one derives joy seeing him hit the net purely because he has Irish blood. The thing is that he is not a clinical finisher and there are others who gained far less attention but were deadlier when given the chance.

Keane is skilful with his feet, creative, crafty, and has good telepathy, but in the assassin's role, pared down to the essential discipline, he is too often found wanting for it not to be a recurring problem for him and his employers. Ten points behind Rangers, he believes there is enough left in the season to make up the ground. The next few months are as crucial for Keane as they are for Celtic to ensure he has made the right gamble heading to Glasgow.

Sunday Independent

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