Clyde 2 Celtic 1: Keane's nightmare debut as Clyde stun holders

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The Independent Football

To use the parlance of Roy Keane: "Wallop! Have that!" If anyone still believed that Keane has taken a soft option in moving to Celtic, hoping to win matches at a canter, they were disabused of the notion in sensational fashion yesterday when the Scottish Cup holders crashed out of this season's tournament at the hands of Clyde from Cumbernauld.

Outfought, out-thought and outplayed by a First Division side who were assembled in a week last summer and are paid £200 a week each, Celtic turned in as bad a performance as they have all season. The level of ineptitude and the lack of effort even put the 5-0 Champions' League humiliation at Artmedia Bratislava in the shade.

On a cold North Lanarkshire afternoon of bright sunshine but only darkness for the visiting fans, Keane actually emerged as one of the less culpable men in green. He was unable to conjure or channel his legendary fire, but he did at least protect the ball when he had it. And when Celtic did have sniffs of getting back into this non-contest, he was part of it.

The same could not be said for another Celtic debutant, the Chinese international defender Du Wei. After a shocker of a first half, he was substituted at the interval.

Nothing should be taken from Clyde. They were magnificent. Apart from Du Wei in place of the absent Bobo Baldé, who is with Guinea at the African Nations' Cup, the only other Celtic player absent from their normal side was Stilian Petrov, whose injury allowed Keane a certain start.

As a professional footballer, this will now rank up there with his worst individual results. Maybe Manchester United's 6-3 loss at Southampton in the Premiership in 1996 comes close. Keane was sent off that day. But rarely can he have been involved in a match where his team were such strong favourites and failed utterly to show why.

Clyde were hungrier, quicker, more committed. They had the ball in the back of the net five times. Two goals counted, from Craig Bryson and Eddie Malone. A third, scored by Tom Brighton, definitely should have done. Quite why the referee disallowed it is a mystery. A fourth was a marginal offside that would have been given on many occasions. A fifth was clearly offside. Clyde also had a penalty saved.

Celtic's Majiec "Magic" Zurawski scored a late consolation, but the only magic anyone will be talking about this morning is the magic of the Scottish Cup.

Clyde's manager, Graham Roberts, and his assistant, Joe Miller, a former Cup winner with Celtic, have taken young - and rejected - raw material from some of Scotland's bigger sides and turned them into something approaching gold. At least it will seem like that to them this morning, when they have been surgically removed from the ceiling.

This result was up there among the all-time shocks in the tournament. It certainly ranks as worse than Celtic's infamous loss at the same stage - the third round - to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, then a First Division side, in 2000. Then, Celtic were in transition and struggling under John Barnes. Now they are seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League and apparently in a position only to give the title away. Much more of this and they might.

Keane has never been on the winning side in any of his professional debuts. Nottingham Forest lost 2-0 to Liverpool in his first game in 1990. Ireland drew with Chile on his bow in 1991. United drew with Arsenal in the 1993 Charity Shield in his first game for them.

Nobody, except Roberts and his players, was expecting a fourth non-winning start with a new team.

Keane-mania has gripped Scotland since he signed last month. His name dominated the build-up to this game. His participation was largely responsible for the attendance of the Sky TV cameras and applications from more than 400 journalists from as far afield as Ireland, America and Asia. Only a few got in.

Keane also received the largest cheer when the teams were announced, and was the focal point for the chants when Clyde were 2-0 up and cruising. "Keano, Keano, what's the score?" they yelled. It can safely be assumed that Celtic's in-house TV station will not be inviting him to answer the question, in a literal or metaphorical sense, after this.

Clyde should have been 1-0 up in the 15th minute when Brighton brushed past Du Wei, who fell over. Brighton netted. No goal, said the referee. It was actually a perfectly good goal.

Keane then showed his positional intelligence to create a chance for John Hartson, but the Welshman, lumbering and badly off form, mis-kicked. The ball fell to Keane a few moments later and he tried a shot. It was blocked.

Alex Williams then had a goal disallowed as offside, before Bryson's headed opener. Keane then stopped Bryson marauding again, starting a counter-attack to no avail. Du Wei then tripped Brighton, for a penalty, which was saved. Two minutes later, Malone volleyed home from a corner for 2-0. Keane almost pulled one back with a header but it was saved, and later took a forward role, to no avail. It had been hailed as his big day. It was Clyde's.

Clyde face Gretna as a reward. Celtic and Keane face an inquisition. Welcome to Scotland.

Goals: Bryson (32) 1-0; Malone (36) 2-0; Zurawski (83) 2-1.

Clyde (5-3-2): Cherrie; McGowan, McKeown, McGregor, Higgins, Malone; Bryson (Bouadji, 82), Masterton, O'Donnell; Williams (Miller, 81), Brighton (Arbuckle, 90). Substitutes not used: Jarvie (gk), Hunter.

Celtic (4-4-2): Boruc; Telfer, Du Wei (Virgo, h-t), McManus, Wallace (McGeady, 56); Nakamura, Lennon, Keane, Pearson; Hartson (Zurawski, 71), Maloney. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Lawson.

Booked: Clyde McGowan. Celtic McManus.

Referee: E Smith (Scotland).

Man of the match: Brighton.

Attendance: 8,000.