Brendan Keyes talks about how Celtic can rescue 10IAR, Lennon’s replacement and more

Brendan Keyes talks about how Celtic can rescue their 10IAR campaign, who should replace Neil Lennon as manager and football in the middle of a pandemic.

Brendan Keyes has worn a lot of different hats in football through the course of his career. Born in Ireland, as a youth he played for Stella Maris FC and Home Farm FC before moving to the United States. There he represented the Houston Eagles and the Houston Hurricanes.

After hanging up his boots, he would go into management. That was not enough for Keyes though as he would become a team owner as well and went on to become the founder of the Texas Premier Soccer League. It is safe to say that he has seen it all and done it all.

This is not all there is to him though as he has also been a Celtic supporter for over 50 years. And he has probably forgotten more about the club than most of us will ever know.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brains about the current season, 10IAR, Neil Lennon’s future at the club and of course, his own club back in the United States, Celtic FC America.

(This interview was conducted before the game against Lille and some of his statements are proving to be prophetic).


What do you think is the reason behind our terrible start to the season?

Brendan Keyes: Looking in from the outside, it is hard not to feel that there has been a falling out behind the scenes with certain players. I have been a Celtic fan for over 50 years and I’ve never seen a team give up like they have at times this season.

Another huge problem has been our recruitment. We have acquired too many players over the years who have made little to no impact on the team. And it is starting to pile up now.

Till now, I have maintained that we should keep Lennon in charge. But the defeat against St Johnstone was the first time that I felt that it was time to let him go. Now, it is clear that the club will keep him in charge till the Derby. And if we lose that game, which is not unlikely at all, he’ll be shown the exit door. Let’s just hope that it is not too late by then.


What do you think we should do to turn this around?

BK: Change things up. It is clear that things are not working at the moment. Give David Turnbull a chance. He has looked good every time he has been given a chance. No disrespect to Broony but he has not looked the sharpest this season. For me, Turnbull plays every game.

Give Soro a chance. We have not seen a lot of him since he has joined the club but he has looked decent the few times he has been brought on. Play Frimpong in a more advanced role. He has his weaknesses at the back but I think he will do well as a winger, he has the pace for it.

Also, I’d always go with two up front when playing against weaker opposition, which is every team other than the Rangers in Scotland. I’m an attacking coach myself. Play Edouard and Griffiths up top, we have seen what they can do together.


If Lennon is indeed sacked, who would you want the club to replace him with?

BK: Eddie Howe. I think we can get him. Celtic have a thing for going after people that have a history with the club. I say let’s change it up. Howe has the pedigree. He did a terrific job with Bournemouth, taking them from the fourth division to the Premier League and then kept them there for five years, which is very impressive for a club of that size.

I have only met Lennon once but he can be aggressive, which is not a bad thing. But the modern players probably don’t like that. You have to change with the times. I think they’d enjoy playing for someone like Howe.


What have you made of the rumours linking us with the likes of Roy Keane, Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and Paul Lambert?

BK: Again, let’s not keep going back to the past. Someone like Eddie Howe has to be appointed.


On a different note, we know how the global pandemic has effected clubs around the world. How have things been for your own team?

BK: It has been rough to be very honest. The entire season has been scrapped off. We tried to restart the league but then a player from one of the teams ended up testing positive and things were back on ice.

It is hard running a semi-professional team in this environment and a lot of them have folded this year. We are hanging by a thread. For the time being, I am just doing one-on-one coaching sessions. Anybody interested in the Houston area can contact me.

Let’s just hope that football will be back next year and we can capture another Texas Championship.


Finally, any message to the Celtic fans?

BK: I know that it has been a tough year but let’s stick with the team. The club will reassess the managerial situation in January. But the team needs us to be behind them more than ever right now. So let’s keep the faith. Hail hail.


We’d like to thank Brendan Keyes for giving us the time. You can contact him yourself through his website or his Facebook page.