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Dublin: 8°C Saturday 16 January 2021

Boost for Ireland defender as Celtic women turn professional

Dubliner Keeva Keenan is on the books at the Scottish outfit.

CELTIC FC HAVE announced that its women’s first team has moved to full professional status for the first time, with immediate effect. 

celtic Keeva Keenan (centre) with her Celtic teammates. Source: Celtic FC Women Twitter.

The historic move ahead of the 2020 Scottish Women’s Premier League [SWPL] season was announced today with the Hoops making a “significant investment” to facilitate the switch. 

It’s good news for Ireland star defender Keeva Keenan, who has been at the side since January 2018. The Dubliner was named Celtic’s 2018/19 Player of the Year, and recently made a real breakthrough into the Irish team under Vera Pauw.

After considerable work and significant investment from the club, a number of existing players have already been moved onto full-time deals, with further new signings to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Scottish side announced the news in a statement today, along with with several other improvements to the set-up ahead of the 2020 season.

“The wider club staff have committed to supporting the women’s team, with every effort made to ensure they have the highest quality of support for the season ahead,” it notes, with a new full-time head coach, assistant coach and dedicated sports science and medical staff to be appointed soon, and a number of new sponsors and partnerships forged.

keeva-keenan Ireland defender Keeva Keenan. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Under Eddie Wolecki Black last season, Celtic finished third in the SWPL as Glasgow City’s dominance continued when they went 13 in-a-row.

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Their 2020 season is due to commence with a league cup match on 9 February as Celtic look to end Glasgow’s reign of terror across the board. The two sides meet in the league opener on 23 February.

A little over a year ago, they announced their plans to go full-time, and now follow Rangers into professional status after they made the switch last month.

“Globally the women’s game is evolving all the time and interest is at an all-time high,” the Celtic statement continues.

Along with the other professional teams in the country, Celtic has an opportunity to be at the forefront of improving the women’s game in Scotland, developing greater opportunities for female players and creating a clear career path.

“Always striving to be the best at anything it does, the club relishes this opportunity and looks forward to its wider fan base providing its world-renowned support to all levels of the women’s set-up.”

“We are delighted to be leading the way in this area in Scotland and we are sure our move to professional status is one which will be hugely beneficial for the club and our players,” Gordon Kaye, Celtic’s Head of Business Development, added.

“Our new professional arrangement aims to provide the same opportunities for women wishing to play the game at all levels as we currently do for men – as a club famously open to all, this is hugely important to us.”

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Emma Duffy

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