Please, Celtic, not Roy Keane

By Euan Davidson

May 28, 2021

So, despite looking for all the world like Eddie Howe would join Celtic, suddenly it’s off.

Celtic are in “advanced talks” with another candidate, the club told 67 Hail Hail. And so, we’re going back through all the names that were mooted earlier on. Lucien Favre? It’s possible. Jesse Marsch? He’s taken another job, as has Enzo Maresca. Who else is there?

Ah. Oh. Oh no.

Not Roy Keane. The Celtic manager of choice for people who believe the game’s “gone soft”. A man who, in his last management job, was sacked by Ipswich [BBC]. Over a decade ago, no less. He’s the ideal candidate, if you think Neil Lennon’s brand of shouting wasn’t quite loud enough.

It’s embarrassing enough. In fact, I’m relatively certain there’ll be fans of another certain team reading this with tears of laughter. If that’s your bag, go for it. What’s actually important though, is Celtic navigating this utter debacle with an ounce of positivity. Given Howe’s vision, his footballing methodology and what he could’ve brought to Celtic, it’s utterly unthinkable that the Bhoys would go for a kick and rush merchant who was last in a management job when Brexit was a twinkle in a Tory backbencher’s eye.

Favre, airborne in 2011 / (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Celtic are having an absolute nightmare, but it could get worse

If we go from talking about incredible scouting, fostering loyalty with players and building a culture at the club to hiring someone based on the fact he once played for us, it’s not just a backwards step. It’s a screeching, shuddering jolt backward. Neil Lennon was far more qualified to take the Celtic job than Keane is now, and look where it got us in the end.

That said, some good might actually come of this. As much as I and my colleagues were firmly of the belief that Howe was a matter of time, someone like Lucien Favre would represent an absolute coup. After all, this is the guy who moulded the careers of bona fide superstars like Erling Haaland and Marco Reus. Marc André Ter-Stegen, Granit Xhaka, the list goes on.

It’d be an exciting result for the team’s Academy players, that’s for sure. Whatever happens, though, the club are surely aware of how the fans are feeling in this moment. They must know the profile of manager we’re after, having clamoured so publicly for Howe.

To keep us so distanced throughout the process, letting the news and optimism build before sweeping the leg like this is galling. How much of it was the board’s fault, and how much of it was Eddie Howe being flaky? We know the club’s perspective, maybe we’ll hear Howe’s one day.

But for all that is Holy and Sacred, please Celtic: not Roy Keane.

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