Losing Their Man

By Ryan Fleming

As Celtic found themselves out of the race for the SPL title, the Glasgow side has many improvements to make, the first being solidifying their offense.

Irish international Robbie Keane is donning the Hoops jersey and scoring goals at a record pace. But lets not forget, in Celtic’s last match against their cross-town rival, Rangers, on Feb. 28, “Keano” couldn’t muster a goal and saw his side drop the match, 1-0, and slide another three points behind Gers. Currently, Celtic find themselves 10 points behind Rangers and have played one more game.

Keane confirmed he will leave Celtic a few days ago, saying that he will return to Tottenham after the loan spell is done. Now, this creates a bigger problem than it appears for the Hoops. Keane attracts a lot of attention up front from defenders – giving his teammates more open space to move around and create plays. Unfortunately, Keane is also the only player doing any sort of scoring right now.

Dating back to Feb. 20, where Celtic defeated Dundee United, 1-0, seven of Celtic’s last nine goals were scored by the Irishman. The other two scorers were Josh Thompson and Georgios Samaras in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over St. Johnstone. If Keane does indeed go, and the Hoops do not add a striker with some serious ability, Celtic will be looking up the SPL table to more teams that just Rangers.

Much of the disparity in scoring with in the team has to be with the lack of a creative midfielder. With rumors of longtime Celt, Aidan McGeady, heading out of Glasgow and the inconsistent play of Scott Brown, the Hoops will feel the continuing pressure into next season to lock-up some quality talent and be crowned SPL champion.

As of now the back-line, which has gave the media much reason to write, has played much better after the addition of Thomas Rogne, Jos Hooiveld, Edson Braafheid and the first team call up of Thompson.

In a country where losing hasn’t been tolerated since the sides first started battling each other in the late 1880’s when much of the violence was on the pitch between fans, winning became even more paramount just a few weeks back when it was announced that the SPL will only be awarded one Champions League spot instead of two. Now, playing in the CL means more than just notoriety and being able to play with the best clubs in the world, it means millions of dollars or pounds in income. In soccer, that’s basically all that matters.

With so much to worry about, one has to wonder why Celtic’s rival, Rangers, a team that hasn’t added a player from the last two transfer windows is having far more success and is basically laughing in their face.

Ryan Fleming is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at ryanrfleming@gmail.com.

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