With the backing of Celtic colleague Damien Duff, Keeva Keenan has taken the Ireland women’s team by storm under the Vera Pauw regime.
The full-back arrived on the international stage as a 16-year-old matchwinner against England at the U19 Euro finals in 2015, only to be cast aside by Colin Bell.
Keenan’s exclusion from the senior ranks during the Bell era was puzzling given she was operating to at least semi-professional level in the Scottish league.
The Dubliner departed champions Glasgow City to join Celtic in early 2018 and is their reigning Player of the Year.
The biggest club in Scottish football broke new ground earlier this year by upgrading the status of their squad to full-time professionals.
Proof that the investment is yielding success came on Sunday when they inflicted a first defeat in three years on Glasgow City.
Duff, currently assistant to Neil Lennon, has been tracking the progress of his compatriot and Keena herself feels a changing of the guard is imminent.
“Glasgow City have won every title for the past 13 seasons,” explained the defender yesterday at an Irish camp building up to Tuesday’s Euro qualifier in Greece.
“The day is coming that another team will take over. Celtic are doing great things with the women’s section.
“We train mostly at Lennoxstown, the same facility used by the men’s squad. I’m really enjoying my football there."
Success at international level, by earning a first-ever major qualification, would also enhance Keenan’s reputation.
Pauw’s appointment in September triggered an overhaul but the comeback of Keenan was instigated by assistant boss Eileen Gleeson.
“I turned Eileen down as a kid when I signed for Shelbourne rather than her Peamount side,” she explained. “We become enemies in the national league but always respected each other.
“My mother Rachel and Eileen were good friends through work and I was delighted to get the call-up.
“Being put straight into the starting team for the qualification win over Ukraine was a major shock. There were nerves but the win puts us in a great position to challenge to reach the 2021 Euros.”
Her euphoria is a contrast to her one and only previous experience in camp.
“My first day involved no training and the 14-hour meeting in a small room of a hotel,” she says, referring to the infamous strike by the players before that Slovakia friendly. “That was an interesting time but I didn’t get a shout from Colin after that.
“I thought my chance of playing for Ireland again had gone but I’m glad to be part of the new set-up.”