Celtic manager Tony Mowbray was so concerned about the Republic of Ireland striker’s exertions against Brazil in midweek that he thought about leaving him on the bench.
It was as well he didn’t as Keane netted in each half to give the Bhoys a 2-0 win at Falkirk that puts them 10 points behind SPL leaders Rangers, who have a game in hand.
Mowbray said: “I was half tempted to put him on the bench but I started him and he got his goals.
“He showed against Brazil the talented boy he is – he’s scored a few goals for us – and he showed it again today, taking the two opportunities which came along. Hopefully we can keep him fit.”
Mowbray described his team’s performance as “composed” and “professional”. He said: “We knew it would be difficult. They’ve given us problems in the past and the pitch probably wasn’t going to suit what we were trying to do.”
Keane had twice been foiled by Robert Olejnik before he drilled the ball low past the Bairns keeper in the 34th minute after being set up by Morten Rasmussen.
The home side passed up several decent chances before Keane grabbed his second in the 79th minute when a quick Marc Crosas free-kick sent him racing past the Bairns defence before knocking the ball past Olejnik.
After drawing twice against the Bairns earlier in the season, Mowbray survived another potential embarrassment – and he can thank Keane, who showed why he is reportedly being paid €70,000 per week by the Parkhead club for his loan until the end of the season.
Falkirk manager Steven Pressley said: “I thought we controlled the game for long periods and I’m devastated for the players.”
Pressley believes the Bairns can beat relegation, despite being three points adrift at the bottom of the table. He said: “My belief is we’ll stay in this division.
Morgaro Gomis scored his third goal in two games as wasteful Dundee United finally pierced injury-ravaged Hearts to regain third place in the SPL yesterday.
FALKIRK: Olejnik, Barr, McLean, Scobbie, Twaddle, Lima (Moutinho 80), O’Brien, Arfield, Flynn, Healy, Showunmi.
Subs Not Used: Wagenaar, Lynch, Compton, Duffy, Davidson, Bloom.
CELTIC: Boruc, Hinkel, Thompson, O’Dea, Braafheid, Rasmussen (Wilson 90), N’Guemo, Crosas, McGeady, Keane, Samaras (McGowan 90).
Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Naylor, Ki, Zhi, Caddis.
Referee: B Winter