Sunday, January 8, 2006
Keane debut ends in humiliation
Even the flies on the Celtic dressing room wall must have feared what was coming as Roy Keane's debut ended in Tennent's Scottish Cup third-round humiliation.The world and his wife had turned up at Broadwood and tuned into the live television coverage for one reason only - the first appearance of the 34-year-old in the green and white hoops.Bell's First Division Clyde were meant to be little more than a side-show at their own ground, Broadwood.But, while the arrival of the former Manchester United midfielder was meant to inspire the Glasgow giants, it was the Bully Wee youngsters who rose to the challenge.Picture the scene for any player in his formative years; the television cameras are out in force and the newspaper reporters have swamped the press box in search of tickets.Is there a better chance to display your talents?Former Rangers striker Tom Brighton - shown the door at Ibrox last year - viewed the scene and took his chance at the age of 21.Alex Williams, who saw his promising career with Morton took a nosedive, also took the opportunity to remind the world of his ability.Both saw their `goals' disallowed in dubious circumstances.In goalscorers Craig Bryson and Eddie Malone, Clyde have two more youngsters capable of moving onwards and upwards.Bully Wee boss Graham Roberts had advertised for new players at the cash-strapped club in the summer and has moulded a tremendous team spirit.But Celtic?China defender Du Wei also debuted at Broadwood - with less coverage than Keane.But the Irishman let him know of his displeasure after the centre-half was easily bundled off the ball by Brighton.After witnessing the first-half display of Du Wei, Keane must have been toying with asking for a place in defence.Bobo Balde has received much criticism this season but his absence with Guinea in the African Nations Cup left a huge gap at the back alongside Stephen McManus.Du Wei didn't fill it. The arrival of Adam Virgo as a replacement in the second period restored a little balance.But Keane himself appeared to be having problems playing alongside - or should that be in the same position? - as Neil Lennon.How the Cork-born player must have wished for the comparative luxury of the Irish training ground in 2002 which prompted his exit before the World Cup in the Far East.An advertisement at one end of the Cumbernauld stadium offered the incentive `Keane for a career at sea?'But it was only the Hoops who were lost in a Bermuda Triangle of their own making.No match for the physical presence and the pace of the young Bully Wee, the Hoops were second best at every given turn.Keane could only watch on as Celtic unveiled a performance which made the 5-0 defeat by Artmedia Bratislava in July look competent.Never slow to voice his opinions, Keane will have taken stock of the abhorrent display by the cup holders.The question now is who will get the verbal volley first?Welcome to Scottish football, Mr Keane.