Keane a 'gamble that never paid off'

Former Celtic manager Billy McNeill said had he been in charge of the club at the time he would never have signed Roy Keane, who has retired from football, the Scottish Sun reported on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Irishman, who was plagued by a hip injury last season, announced his retirement after just 13 appearances and one goal for the Hoops since being unveiled last December.

And McNeill, who skippered Celtic when they won the European Cup in 1967, insists the former Manchester United midfielder was well past his best when he arrived in Glasgow.

He told the Scottish Sun: “I hate to say it but I warned Gordon Strachan against signing Roy Keane in the first place and yesterday [Monday] my fears were realised.

“Celtic were never going to get sort of return from the veteran midfielder that they were looking for. Just 13 games and one goal in six months in Scotland.

“If I’d still been in charge then I would have been bitterly disappointed with that. But then if I had still been in charge at Parkhead I wouldn’t have signed him.

“Yes, he was once arguably the best midfielder in the world but Celtic were always getting a player who was trudging towards the end of his career.
Because of the punishment his body had taken in over 10 years at the top in England he was never going to set the heather on fire in Scotland.

“The glory days were firmly behind him. I knew it, he knew it and more worryingly for me, Celtic knew it. For me the whole exercise has been a gamble that hasn’t paid off.”—AFP

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