Roy Keane played 13 games for Celtic and the first two of those were memorably for a disastrous performance and result away to Clyde, then what looked like an out of shape performance by the former Ireland international at home to Kilmarnock.
The remaining 11 games of his Celtic career were a lesson on what a great central midfield player looks like. This was an era when we had recently seen Champions League winner, Paul Lambert, and Neil Lennon, play central mid, both masters of their craft, but Keane fulfilled the role better than anyone I had seen in a Celtic shirt, even as a 34-year-old.
There’s a video of his solitary performance away to Rangers (@FocusOnCeltic), where he asserts himself effortlessly, a lesson on how it should be done. I watched a similar video of Olivier Ntcham against Newco on Sunday (@CelticBible).
The obvious point should be made. The Rangers team of 2006 that Keane faced had players like Barry Ferguson and Dado Prso, and had a proper manager, whereas the team Olivier Ntcham faced are not of the same calibre, nor were they at home, but you and me have watched rubbish Oldco/Newco teams over the years without seeing such a complete performance from a Celtic central mid as Olivier’s.
Last month I suggested we drop Olivier and pull Callum McGregor deep, as the former’s passing and effectiveness was off the pace during the qualifiers. He was one of several subject to bids and contract talks over the summer. A clear head seems to have elevated the 22-year-old’s game to a new level.
The King is in town, get along to see Henrik and pals do their stuff at Celtic Park tomorrow.