Hero's welcome for Celtic's Keane
Robbie Keane was presented to hundreds of jubilant Celtic supporters in the early hours of Tuesday morning after completing his surprise loan move from Tottenham.
The Republic of Ireland striker arrived at Parkhead to a hero's welcome on the stroke of midnight before addressing the throng waiting to greet him. "It's absolutely unbelievable," Keane told them.
"This is the reason why I've always wanted to come to Celtic. It's no secret over the years I've been a Celtic fan. I'm hoping to bring a lot of success in the short time I'm here."
Keane was also treated to a round of applause as he was unveiled to the media. He said: "It's overwhelming, an incredible reception. You never think as a player that you're going to get that kind of reception. I played against Celtic a few times and I've always got a great reception but that was unbelievable out there."
Asked why he decided to join Celtic, he said: "To play football, first and foremost. I'm no different to anyone else. I always wanted to play for Celtic and it works out well for both parties."
He confirmed Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell had been trying to sign him for some time. "Peter said today it's no secret they've been trying to get me for a few years," said Keane, who has been handed the club's famous number seven jersey. "There wasn't much persuading, to be honest with you."
But he refused to comment on whether he might stay beyond the end of the season, when his loan expires. "That's as far as I've thought about anything," he added.
Keane admitted the move was a dream, adding: "I didn't want to come here at 34 years of age at the end of my career and struggling. I think I'm coming here at the peak of my career."
So significant is the move, bookmakers immediately slashed the odds of Celtic overhauling Rangers' 10-point lead in the Premier League. Keane said: "I'm not a betting man, so I don't get involved in that.
"But, at the end of the day, I'm here to hopefully win trophies for Celtic and that is hopefully winning the league. I want to be part of that and I believe, with the squad of players that are here, there's no reason why we can't."
He is also looking forward to playing in an Old Firm derby. "The Rangers-Celtic game is obviously massive," he said. "I've been lucky enough to be at the game a couple of years ago. The atmosphere was absolutely unbelievable. It's a game I'm really looking forward to."
Despite being handed the jersey of Parkhead legend Henrik Larsson, he said: "Henrik Larsson obviously stands out in everyone's mind but we're two different players."
He also insisted he knew nothing about how his loan was funded, amid rumours billionaire director Dermot Desmond had personally helped finance the move. Keane's signing, Celtic boss Tony Mowbray's fourth of transfer deadline day, dwarfed those of Diomansy Kamara, Edson Braafheid and Paul Slane. The afternoon also witnessed the ninth departure from the club since the turn of the year, with Scott McDonald joining Middlesbrough for an undisclosed fee.
Keane signed for Spurs in 2002, making almost 200 appearances and scoring 80 goals, before joining Liverpool for around £20 million in July 2008. However, he went on to make only 15 appearances for the Anfield side and rejoined Spurs in February 2009 for £12 million, taking his cumulative transfer fees to more than £70 million. His previous clubs include Wolves, Coventry, Inter Milan and Leeds.