Roy Keane was one of the last Celtic signings to have to endure training at Barrowfield, ahead of the club opening the current facilities up at Lennoxtown, and the former Manchester United captain has been speaking about his surprise at discovering the poor training facilities that Celtic had when he signed for the club in December 2005 after his time at Old Trafford came to an end.
“I went to Celtic, an iconic and amazing club,” Roy Keane said on the latest edition of Gary Neville’s ‘Stick to Football’ podcast.
“The stadium is amazing, but I hadn’t really seen the training ground. I’m going back a few years – they have a good one now. I was in the dressing room with Celtic – we got changed at Celtic Park and drove to the ground in our boots and gear.
“I didn’t kick a ball at Celtic – I was injured all the time. What I did enjoy – for all my comfort zone at Manchester United, and I loved every minute of my time at United – was that it was good to be in another dressing room for six months.
“The Celtic lads, there were one or two idiots but generally speaking, they are great lads. I mixed with different lads, different dynamics, and I really enjoyed my time at Celtic.”
Keane talking about his time at Celtic. Wonder who the ‘one or two idiots’ were? pic.twitter.com/TDdW6dy5jA
— 🍔 Gastro Celtic 🍀 (@Gastro_Celtic) January 10, 2024
If the training ground facilities at Celtic have been improved considerably in the intervening period – and Celtic are currently spending millions developing new facilities at Barrowfield too for the Celtic FC Women and Celtic Academy’s use, then there’s another matter Roy Keane raised in the ‘Stick to Football’ Podcast that does suggest that there’s a current day similarity and that nothing much has changed at the club.
It seems that when Gordon Strachan replaced Martin O’Neill as Celtic manager in May 2005 he came to the club with no great confidence in his own ability to ‘spot a player’ and was therefore happy to leave transfer activity and decisions to others. Strachan, if Keane’s revelation is correct, limited himself to coaching the players at his disposal.
“Celtic and Gordon had a bit of success, but he said he backed away from all. He went, ‘I’ve bought too many bad players’. Gordon held his hand up and said, ‘I’m not good at spotting players and bringing players in’.” Keane said.
“He’d obviously had some success in terms bringing players in when he was at Coventry, but he got to the stage where he went, ‘I’m backing away from all (transfers)’. I’m sure he had some sort of conversations but didn’t get involved and that’s an experienced manager.”
There’s probably some truth in this, although you can think of players who clearly were Strachan signings and Paul Telfer for example springs immediately to mind. However it does strongly suggest that someone else at Celtic as far back as 2005 was making the signing decisions for the manager.
Wonder who that could have been?
Roy Keane’s transfer to Celtic and his time at the club is covered extensively in Matt Corr’s new book Majic, Stan and the King of Japan that tells the story of Gordon Strachan’s first season at Celtic. It’s available on hardback in the Winter Sale at Celtic Star Books for HALF PRICE for short period. Order your copy HERE.
Incidentally these Roy Keane comments are being widely shared by both the mainstream media and the Celtic fan media sites. However in a class of their own is Daily Record with this take on it all…
“Roy Keane eviscerates Celtic spell as he reveals Man United comedown and the ‘idiots’ in the dressing room”…
Eviscerates – really? And they wonder why Celtic supporters don’t buy their paper.
— Daily Record Sport (@Record_Sport) January 10, 2024