Keane: This is where I belong
ďI FEEL this is where I belong.Ē With these words, Roy Keane announced his arrival at Celtic Park in a transfer that is the most high-profile the club has ever been involved in.
Certainly the impact it has made stretches way beyond the confines of Scotland and it only serves to further increase the stature of the club throughout the football world.
The Irishman has signed an initial 18-month contract, keeping him at the club until June 2007. And as news quickly spread of the signing coup, Celtic supporters began to gather outside the front entrance of the stadium in their hundreds.
Facing a packed media today as he was officially unveiled, Keane himself looked calm and confident and spoke with a quiet assurance that the decision to sign for Celtic is the right one for him.
ďItís a great move for me,Ē the Irish internationalist said. ďIt was important that I took my time over the past three or four weeks but now that everythingís done itís a good day for me. Itís been a strange few weeks since leaving United but itís a great move for me and Iím really looking forward to the challenge.
ďIt was important I took my time and made the right decision and walking round the club today I felt really comfortable. Iíve met one or two of the players and I feel this is where I belong. Itís been documented over the years that Iíve been up to Celtic Park for a few games and Iíve always enjoyed coming up and watching them. Theyíre seeking to improve and win titles, and thatís what Iím in the game for. Iíve not come up here on a PR trip or an ego trip or to unwind, far from it.
ďIím here to win football matches and help the squad. Iím very much a team player, despite the reports. I want the team to do well and thatís what Iíve come up here for and thatís what Iíve come up here for, to help the club move onto the next level and win trophies.
ďThatís what Iím in the game for. Iím not necessarily in the game to be popular. I like training hard, I like playing hard. I like pushing myself. I like pushing the people I work with hard. In the modern day there seems to be a problem with that but thatís what I enjoy doing.
ďA team like Celtic, which is challenging for trophies, needs a big squad and Iím well aware that the players who are at Celtic have done very well. Iím under no illusions that Iím going to come up here and walk straight into the team. Iíve never done that in my career. Iíve never taken my position for granted so what Iím looking to do over the next couple of weeks is to train hard and give the manager a problem.
ďBut I think when I was at my previous club, when we bought midfielders I saw that as a challenge and hopefully the players here will see that as a challenge. If you want to be successful you need a big squad and everyoneís going to be vying for eleven positions and Iím no different from that.
ďOver the next couple of weeks my priority is to try and get a bit of sharpness and getting to know my new team-mates.Ē
And when asked about how his reputation as a plain speaker would go down in the Celtic dressing-room, Keane joked: ďIím sure theyíll love me!Ē
He went on to say: ďI never ask a team-mate to do anything I wouldnít be prepared to do myself and I know there are a lot of good players here Ė a lot of senior players and a lot of young lads. The fans will judge me on what I do on the football pitch and not on what I say. Thereís been a lot of nonsense written over the past few months over what Iíve supposed to have said but Iíve come up here to try and do well and help the squad.Ē
The player is not eligible to play for Celtic until January 1, 2006, but he dismissed any fears regarding the current state of his fitness.
ďI was fit four or five week ago,Ē he explained. ďJust before I left United I was due to play in a reserve match but that was shelved. Itís been frustrating, but Iím glad I took those few extra weeks to take my time and make my decision and come up with the right decision.
ďIím looking forward to all the games. The players here have done brilliantly and, considering the position I play, the best two players in Scotland over the past four or five years have been Neil Lennon and Stilian Petrov, so, again Iím under no illusions as to how hard it will be.Ē
Re: Keane: This is where I belong
Nice of him to get up to Glasgow for a mere 45K a week. No questioning his allegiance to the bhoys, but don't you think he'll cause more problems than he'll solve with that mouth of his?
He said: "At Celtic, I'll settle in for the first few weeks and see how the lads operate.
"You know, find out the players who like a laugh and a joke, the quiet ones. After that, I will speak my mind.
"Players appreciate that in the long run.
"It is better to say things face to face than behind a person's back. Players might not like me for it, but they will respect me."
I'm just happy he's out the EPL...........
Re: Keane: This is where I belong
I'll be even happier when we manage to kick Souness out of St James'.