Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Quitting has lifted burden, says Celtic's Kennedy

John Kennedy admits the decision to call time on his career after eight operations failed to clear up his knee injury came as a relief.

The 26-year-old Celtic defender's injury woes dated back more than five years to his international debut for Scotland in a friendly against Romania in March 2004, when he suffered a serious knee ligament injury following a reckless challenge by Romania striker Ionel Ganea.

He was out of the Hoops first team for over three years before returning on April 22, 2007, to help Celtic clinch the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title with a 2-1 victory at Kilmarnock.

But the following November he was stretchered off during a Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk at Celtic Park with further damage to the same knee.

A loan spell at Norwich last summer proved just as depressing as he returned to Glasgow at the end of the year after again damaging his knee and a fortnight ago, Kennedy acted on medical advice to officially retire from the game.

Kennedy, who claims he has not considered legal action against Ganea, said: “It was getting to the point where I had so many surgeries and so many comebacks that it was vital for someone to make the decision for me.

“Once the decision was made, it was, I suppose, a weight off my shoulders. I don't have to keep worrying about trying to get fit again or what people are thinking about my knee.

“As positive and as strong as I felt, I always had this slight fear in the back of my mind that at any minute something might happen. But I can close that book and look forward to doing something else, a new challenge.”

Kennedy says he holds no animosity over Ganea.

“The tackle and the player has been a closed book for me for a long time,” he said. “Maybe back then, nearer the time, there was slight bitterness but it is one of these things that happens.

“You can dwell on it and let it get to you but I haven't, I have just put it behind me and I have tried not to think too much about it.

“So I want to close that book and have good memories of the career I had and look forward to the future.”

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