Mowbray: Keane fanfare not an issue

Tony Mowbray insisted the circus surrounding Robbie Keane's arrival did not distract his Celtic side as his reign hit a new low at Kilmarnock.

Tony Mowbray insisted the circus surrounding Robbie Keane's arrival did not distract his Celtic side as his reign hit a new low at Kilmarnock last night.

Keane's debut for his boyhood idols went spectacularly awry as Killie ended their 31-match winless streak against the Hoops and handed Jimmy Calderwood his first SPL win in charge.

Celtic's defeat, their 11th in 36 games since Mowbray arrived last summer, left the Parkhead club 10 points behind arch-rivals Rangers in the title race.

The result came less that 24 hours after their title ambitions received what appeared a huge shot in the arm when Keane signed on loan from Tottenham until the end of the season.

His unveiling at midnight on transfer deadline day brought thousands of delirious fans to Parkhead to welcome him.

Asked if Keane's fevered reception had adversely affected his players, Mowbray said: "I don't think so, I thought he played well.

"He brings a different dimension to our team. At times, he made the team tick by positions he takes up on the pitch.

"I'm sure he'll be a huge benefit for us as we move on."

Keane was Mowbray's eighth signing of the transfer window, four of whom played last night.

Mowbray refused to plead for time for the new arrivals to click.

"I wouldn't call for patience," he said. "I think the team has got to gel as quickly as it can."

Mowbray's misery was compounded by injuries to defenders Andreas Hinkel (thigh) and Jos Hooiveld (hamstring), who are both likely to miss Sunday's Active Nation Scottish Cup fifth-round tie at Dunfermline.

The one bright spot was Scott Brown coming off the bench for his first appearance for more than three months.

The Scotland midfielder took the armband and looks set to become Mowbray's permanent captain.

"Scott, in my mind, is a choice that I'd like to explore," Mowbray said of a player who reports recently claimed had been told he would be sold, something the Celtic boss denied.

"I think he's coming to a stage in his career where he has to find the maturity to potentially do that, and we'll see how he goes in that role.

"But I don't see any problems with Scott Brown hopefully taking that responsibility on."

Opposite number Calderwood was thrilled with his first SPL win in charge, which lifted Killie up to 10th in the table.

The victory was sealed by Chris Maguire, who upstaged fellow debutant Keane.

"He just loves playing the game," said Calderwood, who raided his former club Aberdeen to sign the striker on loan.

"He used to come into my office on a Friday if he wasn't playing and have a moan."

The new Killie boss also hailed the performance of man-of-the-match Cameron Bell, who won his personal duel with Keane.

"Unbelievable," Calderwood said of his goalkeeper.

"That's the luck you need to win against the big teams and he's been doing it.

"He was sick as a dog on Saturday; he got four against him and hardly did anything wrong."

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