Celtic signing Johnny Kenny compared to Liverpool legend by former coach

By Euan Davidson

January 15, 2022

Johnny Kenny has been given a glowing review and an Ian Rush comparison by his former coach at Sligo Rovers, after signing for Celtic.

Kenny was the fourth arrival at Paradise this window, after Hatate, Ideguchi and Maeda were secured a day before the window kicked off. The Irish youngster has already praised Ange Postecoglou for his influence on signing for the club.

However, the praise is coming Kenny’s way this time. The striker’s former youth coach, Conor O’Grady, has spoken in glowing terms about the new Celtic man.

Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

O’Grady told the Herald: “He’s very quick in behind, off both sides, good in the air, good with his back to goal, would shoot from anywhere.

“[Kenny] as that natural instinct of knowing where the goal is no matter where he is on the field, great work rate, great energy.

“Who could I compare him to? I can’t say Henrik Larsson because that would sound ridiculous but they would be similar kinds, a lot of attributes would be similar. I don’t want to burden him. There’s only one King, right? He would maybe be a bit like Ian Rush, that’s the one that comes to mind from days gone by.

“There’s [still] loads for [Johnny] to work on. He’s only 18 and he’s by no means the finished article. I’m sure physically he needs to develop for the Scottish game. He can get better at everything [but] the one thing about Johnny is that if you tell him something [once], he will improve at it.

“He’ll obviously have to get used to the quickness of the game, too, but it’s not something that I would be worried about. I think he will thrive in that kind of environment.”

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If Celtic have a talent like LIverpool legend Ian Rush through Johnny Kenny signing, then we’ll happily take it!

Obviously, the Ian Rush comparison is just that, a comparison. But it says a lot about the regard Kenny is held in over in Sligo.

The striker will surely have to wait for his opportunities to emulate the goal return of Ian Rush in his heyday. Celtic have plenty of decent options up front. Meanwhile, guys like Joey Dawson, Adam Brooks and Owen Moffat are making waves for the B Team.

Still, it’s hard not to get excited. Kenny scored 11 goals in the League of Ireland at just 18 years old, his first professional season. Fine, the standard in Scotland is different, but according to former coach O’Grady, Kenny can take instruction and develop himself physically.

Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

It’s shrewd investment from Celtic. Ange Postecoglou has already detailed the process of bringing Kenny in, and the scouting Celtic have done in Ireland. Liam Scales has been given first-team opportunities and thrived.

Let’s not go mental yet; after all, Ian Rush scored 336 goals for Liverpool [Transfermarkt]. But if Kenny can become that archetypal striker in the Rush mould then that’s something to look forward to.

It’ll be interesting to see when he gets his first opportunity with Celtic.

Read more: Confirmed: SFA shuffle referees after winter break; who Celtic have for Hibs and Glasgow Derby

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