Irony Is Not Lost on Kennedy as an Injury Paves Thewayfor His Return to Starting XI; KENNEDY: Now a Normal Squad Player Rather Than a Cause for Pity

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), October 7, 2007 | Go to article overview

Irony Is Not Lost on Kennedy as an Injury Paves Thewayfor His Return to Starting XI; KENNEDY: Now a Normal Squad Player Rather Than a Cause for Pity


Byline: Graeme Croser

JOHN KENNEDY would be the last person to revel in the injury of a fellowprofessional but the Achilles problem which has sidelined Jean-JoelPerrier-Doumbe will give the centre-half a chance to re-establish himself forCeltic this afternoon. Doumbes painful twist and fall against Milan in midweekhas heightened Gordon Strachans full-back crisis, with Mark Wilson recoveringfrom knee surgery and even youngster Paul Caddis on the treatment table. GaryCaldwell will have to fill in as a makeshift right-back against Gretna todayand that will hand Kennedy a first league start since August, at centre-halfbeside Stephen McManus. The 23-year-old put three years of knee problems behindhim as he eased himself back to top form and fitness at the start of theseason, but an ankle knock sustained in the Champions League qualifier away toSpartak Moscow saw him lose his place to Caldwell. Frustrated though he was tofall back down the pecking order, Kennedy drew some comfort from the fact hewas back to being a regular squad player and not the guy everyone felt sorryfor. I know better than anybody that you can be up or down and Joe will befeeling bad just now. I had my place at the start of the season then got a weeinjury and Ive been fighting to get back in since, he said. Its tough foranyone who is out the side, not just me. Im just back to being a player now andI shouldnt be thought of any differently because I was out for so long. Likeanyone else, I can get a bit downhearted when Im not in the team but the rulesare the same for everyone. You have to keep working hard and show youre readyif needed. The call came for Kennedy in midweek as Doumbe departed on astretcher and he could certainly have asked for a gentler return. With Kakahaving equalised Stephen McManuss opener, both sides were chasing a winner asthe rain fell. Kennedy looked less than sure-footed as he unconventionallycleared one Milan cross in mid-air but was otherwise calm and collected asCeltic upped the ante and, eventually, claimed a winner from Scott McDonald.

It was difficult to come into that game because the park was very slippy. …

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