Roy Keane spoke about embarrassing Celtic approach in 2014; this can't be repeated

By Euan Davidson

March 3, 2021

Inevitably, Roy Keane has been linked with the Celtic job again.

Despite the fact he hasn’t had a managerial job for a decade, the Cork-born Manchester United legend always seems to be a top candidate. Sky Sports’ other angry pundit alongside Graeme Sounness, Keane has been talked up by Paul Hartley in the press. Some supporters think Keane would be the perfect motivator after a torrid slump in 20-21.

Well, it’s worth remembering that Keane nearly took the Celtic job in 2014. However, the contract negotiations didn’t go to plan from the Bhoys’ perspective. In October of that year, Keane release his follow-up autobiography ‘The Second Half’, in which he wrote [BBC]:

“They were playing the part – ‘It’s Celtic’ – you should almost go up there for nothing.

“I got in touch with Celtic’s chief executive, Peter Lawwell, and asked him to give me a ballpark figure before negotiations got going.

“He mentioned a figure and he said: ‘But that’s it’. Paul told me there were a lot of clauses in the contract that he wasn’t happy with. And the figures were non-negotiable.

“I got my head around that. But it felt a bit too familiar. I had been down this road before when I signed for Celtic as a player.

“I felt they wanted me but they weren’t showing how much they wanted me. It wasn’t rocking my boat.”

Roy Keane (L) didn’t like Celtic’s offer in 2014 / (Photo by Ben Ryan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

After Roy Keane debacle, Celtic board need to show Rodgers-era ruthlessness

Of course, instead of the Keane Scowl, we got the Ronny Roar. Say what you like about how that spell ended, but Deila was the polar opposite of Keane.

A tactician with experience of winning titles, Deila was and is remarkably likeable. A calm, Scandinavian figure who emphasised fitness and shape, it’s a shame it didn’t work out for the Norwegian. “Didn’t work out” meaning he still won two Premiership titles with the Bhoys.

However, Deila was the cheap option. As shown by Keane’s experience and the Deila appointment, Celtic can tend towards thriftiness. That’s something they can ill-afford to do this time. “Buy cheap, pay twice” as the old expression goes.

Supporters will be hoping for the Celtic board that pushed the boat out to land Brendan Rodgers. It cost £9m for Leicester City to snap him up, such was the size of his contract. His talents and the trophy haul under Rodgers justify the exorbitant price-tag.

Ultimately, it’s about value for money. Celtic can’t low-ball their top choice like they did Keane (although, this writer is grateful they did on that occasion). If Eddie Howe, Rafa Benitez, Walter Mazzari or Lucien Favre, for example, are available? You have to pay top dollar.

Dermot Desmond must remember how he felt watching Celtic lose the Scottish Cup semi-final [BBC]. But he must also remember that the supporters are most important here. Nothing less than a top coach will do.

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