Old Firm Tea Party! Rangers and Celtic may make history with Boston friendly clash
EXCLUSIVE By Stephen Mcgowan
Last updated at 12:19 AM on 22nd April 2010
Comments (2) Add to My Stories Celtic and Rangers are ready to take the Old Firm experience overseas with a money-spinning pre-season clash in North America.
Sportsmail can reveal that the Glasgow giants are currently considering a lucrative proposal to go head to head in Boston in July, in what would be the first time the bitter rivals have met outside Scotland.
As yet, no contracts have been signed and neither club is keen to confirm details, with sources insisting the proposition is still at the ‘idea’ stage.
Fox huting: Old Firm stars Brown (left) and Miller could do battle at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough this July
Celtic, however, are already pencilled in to face Manchester United in Toronto on July 16 or 17, while Rangers are considering games in Miami and New York. And with both clubs making the trip across the Atlantic to finalise their preparations for next season, the notion of an Old Firm match-up in July has come from a Stateside promotions company.
The proposed venue for a match is the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. That ground will be familiar to Celtic, who played out a 1-1 draw against New England Revolution in July 2006.
That day, a crowd of just 16,312 watched – but organisers believe the Old Firm rivalry would go some way to filling a stadium with a capacity close to 70,000.
Details have yet to be confirmed but, as both clubs seek to bolster their resources in the midst of a savage economic downturn, the project already has tentative support on both sides of the great Glasgow divide.
Celtic’s clash with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in Canada has been all but confirmed for the Rogers Centre in Toronto, where a 50,000 full house is expected to attend.
The last idea for Scottish clubs to meet on foreign soil came in 2004, when a proposal for an SPL clash between Celtic and Hearts in Australia failed to make it past the drawing board.
North American friendlies have been a lucrative sideline for the Parkhead club in recent seasons, with their last trip ending in a 3-1defeat to Benfica in Canada just last September.
Fans’ choice: but Keane (centre) says he is ’embarrassed’ to win the award
Meanwhile, Robbie Keane has admitted to feeling embarrassed at being voted Celtic’s Player of the Year by fans after less than three months at Parkhead.
The Republic of Ireland striker has scored 13 times since moving on loan from Tottenham at the end of January and collected his accolade at a weekend ceremony.
Keane insisted winger Aiden McGeady should have scooped the prize instead for his displays throughout what has been a disastrous campaign for the club. However, the £65,000-per-week star is grateful for the backing of the club’s supporters.
‘To be totally honest, I’m a little bit embarrassed by this, I don’t think that I really deserve it,’ Keane said. ‘You have to look at the season as a whole and I think that Aiden has clearly been the best player at Parkhead.
‘I’m grateful that the fans have picked me, I’m delighted. I only started playing at the beginning of February and to get an award such as this means a lot to me. When I first came here, I was in a lose-lose situation, to be honest. I was a little bit worried because the expectations on me were huge.
‘If I didn’t get goals, people would say that I should be scoring. And if I did score, they would say, “Well, he should be scoring goals,” with the amount of money that he has been getting.
‘I don’t really like that but that’s football. People keep asking me if I’m glad that I came here and the answer is of course I am. I’m a Celtic fan, it’s as simple as that.’
Top Bhoy: Keane says Aiden McGeady deserved the honour
The backing of the fans won’t be enough to keep Keane at Celtic Park when his loan deal expires in the summer. The 29-year-old has consistently stated he will return to the English Premier League next season, despite his love for the club he grew up supporting.
But he denied he came to the SPL just to put himself in the shop window after falling out of favour under Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.
‘I’m not a footballer who’s using Celtic to go to another club because I didn’t have to come here,’ said Keane.
‘I could have played in the Premiership. I could have stayed at Tottenham, who are a top-four team. But I came to Celtic who, to me, are one of the biggest clubs in the world – a club that I’ve always wanted to play for. I came here for a reason. It wasn’t for money or anything stupid like that.
‘I want to play for this club and, regardless of whether we’re likely to win things or not, it doesn’t matter. I have that jersey on and I’m doing my best for the club. I think I’ve done a good job.’
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