The Golden Boots of James Keatings


James Keatings Celtic newsThe golden boots of James Keatings sealed Celtic’s 4-1 win away to Dundee United.

If there was an award for the top marksman in youth football the hoops striker would be the runaway winner with 17 goals from his 7 (plus 1 sub)  SPL appearances.

After a quietish first half the Wishaw bhoy showed his class with two brilliant second half strikes to follow his equaliser during the week for nine men against St Johnstone.

“At half time Keats seemed a bit frustrated,” coach Stevie Frail explained. “He’s scored in every game that he’s played in but he maybe felt that it wasn’t going to be his day.

“I told him how we needed him to bring other people into the game and create chances then he went out and scored twice.

“He’s a goalscorer, a finisher. I’ve worked with and played with a lot of good finishers and James has all the qualities.

“Last season we played him in a slightly different role out wide and cutting in. This season he’s been the main striker and fantastic for the team.

“At the first goal I wanted him to keep the ball or pass it but then he pulled the trigger. I wasn’t sure if it was the right time to shoot but what a finish.

“His second goal was probably slightly harder, he was shooting across the keeper at an acute angle but just found the corner.”

Celtic started the game at a great pace despite being forced into a number of changes.

Becky Howell Celtic news

Assistant referee Becky Howell

Marcus Fraser replaced the suspended Stephen O’Donnell at right back with Jordan Lowdon returning to midfield after Callum Bagshaw picked up an ankle injury. Jackson Irvine continued in midfield with Keatings paired with Bahrudin Atajic in attack.

The first goal arrived in the 16th minute through Callum McGregor. The midfielder burst forward from midfield, exchanged passes with Atajic and fired a low 20 yard drive into the net.

Atajic was also involved in the second goal 13 minutes later with Matty Hughes heading home his first goal of the season from a well taken Atajic free kick.

Celtic were well on top of the match and could have been more than two goals in front at the break but two minutes into the second half Keatings increased Celtic’s lead.

Picking the ball up thirty yards from goal the striker found a yard of two or space then drilled an unstoppable left foot drive across the home keeper into the net.

With a three goal lead some sloppyness crept into Celtic’s play with United pulling a goal back in the 63rd minute after a free-kick wasn’t properly cleared.

There was never any real threat of United clawing their way back into the match with Keatings finishing the game in style with a low drive after picking up a pass from Irvine.

“This is a hard place to come to,” Frail added. “Last season we were 1-0 up and cruising but ended up losing two late goals.

“We started the game aggressively which was what we wanted to do. We pressed Dundee United back and that set the tone for the first half.

“It was good to see Bahrudin involved in a couple of the goals. He’s worked hard to get back into the side, he played really well for the reserves against Carlisle and scored a couple of goals.

“He didn’t score today but had a hand in a couple of goals and worked well. It’s upto him to keep that going.”

CELTIC: Thomson; Fraser, Toshney, Hughes, Brennan; Irvine, McGregor, Lowdon, F Twardzik; Keatings, Atajic (P Twardzik 80)

SUBS: Feely, Herron, George, Ordish, Gormley, Jones

GOALS: McGregor 16, Hughes 29, Keatings 47,89


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  • chiefinkorea says:

    17 goals in 7 games!!! You’ve mentioned before he’s quite a small guy, so what is the next step for him, Joe? First team squad or out on loan?

  • Joe McHugh says:

    There is a massive gulf between the u19s and first team that makes a direct move seem unlikely.

    If Hooper, Stokes and Samaras were all injured or suddenly out of form I’d have no worries about putting Keatings in the team and would expect him to score with the backing of our current midfield.

    That scenario is unlikely.

    I’d think that almost all SPL clubs would want to take Keatings on loan next season, a season or half season, of first team football would have Keatings ready to step into the Celtic first team and make a big impression.

    He has a lot of skill and ability, he has a poacher’s instinct in the penalty area and if he can get the ball onto his left peg outside the penalty box he has a ferocious shot.

  • marion kilmurray says:

    good luck ma wee man hugs ta u xx

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