Beith Juniors FC: My Site News: Evening Times Article by Jim O'Donnell - Pat Keogh signs for Beith

Monday, February 9
Evening Times Article by Jim O'Donnell - Pat Keogh signs for Beith

BEITH'S hopes of landing the double of Citylink Scottish Cup and Stagecoach Super Premier title have received a massive boost ... in every possible sense.

Hard to come to any other conclusion after boss Johnny Miller snapped up ex-Partick Thistle and Hamilton Accies ace Pat Keogh minutes before the high-flying Ayrshiremen beat Glencairn 4-2 in a friendly at New Petershill Park.

And more good news for Bellsdale Park supporters is that, unlike many other big-name reinstatements, Keogh comes with quite a bit of Junior experience through having starred with the highly-successful Maryhill team of the 1990s.

His sterling efforts back then earned Scotland recognition as well as a step up to Clyde as part of the Lochburn Park exodus of 1998 when Hill gaffer Ronnie McDonald took over at Broadwood and immediately snapped up no fewer than eight Hill players plus others from the ranks of Pollok and Arthurlie.

Among many friendships formed was a long-standing one with ex-Lie striker Steve Convery, whose current position as Beith No.2 went a long way towards persuading big Pat to throw in his lot with the "Mighty" following his recent release by Forfar.

Now the odds must be heavily stacked on the 32-year-old being landed with a playing part for his new club when they head down to Beechwood Park for Saturday's Citylink fifth round encounter against Auchinleck.

The towering stopper explained the reasons behind his short-lived Station Park tenure under Dick Campbell.

"There was no fall-out whatsoever with Dick who remains someone I hold in the greatest respect and will always consider a good friend," he said. "However, he and I shook hands before me going there and agreed we would call it quits if I was not figuring in his plans and, unfortunately, a recurring calf muscle injury has severely limited my appearances.

"And not playing regularly has meant the long hours spent travelling to training and games had become a chore so it was felt best for everyone if we had an amicable parting of the ways.

"In many respects, I'm sorry things never worked out yet, at the same time, I'm excited and looking forward to playing at Junior level again."

Word of quality players of his ilk being up for grabs gets around and not unexpectedly Pat found himself in demand by a number of Junior clubs.

He added: "Initially I went down to Shettleston where Hugh Kelly and I discussed the idea of me taking up a player/coach position.

"Coaching and management is something I have always wanted to get involved in so I was very tempted but then Stevie Convery telephoned and asked me to hold back from making any decision until I spoke with Beith.

"Arthurlie and Petershill were also on the scene, but my mind was made up from the moment I met up with the Beith management team of Johnny, Stevie and Ian Ashcroft, who were all guys I played against in my first Junior stint.

"And it also helps with the whole settling in process that among my new team-mates are Derek McCulloch, who I was capped alongside when Dennis Gray was manager."

His renowned versatility could see Keogh emerge as a key figure for Beith, deprived of front man Kenny McLean through suspension in Saturday's quest to overcome record seven-times winners Talbot.

The very thought undoubtedly appeals to his competitive nature even though he erred on the side of caution when weighing up the possibilities of him making his debut.

"First and foremost my fitness levels need brought up to scratch after being out injured for so long," he revealed.

"But assuming I don't suffer any reaction to training this week then Johnny can use me wherever he thinks fit."

Former Morton striker McLean's importance to the Ayrshire cracks was underlined in the triumph over the Glens.

His second-half introduction proved vital after Glencairn had twice battled back with Stephen McGladrigan and Davie Dickson counters to cancel out goals from John Spence and Craig Brittain.

In 71 minutes, McLean found himself in space to head home a back-post cross and put his side 3-2 ahead before five minutes later sealing victory with another cool finish.

Figuring in central defence for the losers was Lee McShane, whose turning up at New Peters-hill Park as a Beith player was a prelude to the concluding of a transfer deal taking him back to his previous club Glencairn.

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