Keena signs for the Bit O’ Red

Sligo Rovers have completed the signing of striker Aidan Keena from Falkirk.

The 22-year-old moves from the Scottish side on a free transfer and becomes the fourth new signing.

He has signed for the 2022 season.

Keena began at his career at St Patrick’s Athletic as a teenager where his form earned a move to Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.

The former Republic of Ireland under-21 international also had loan spells with Queen’s Park, Dunfermline Athletic and Hartlepool.

Keena bagged five goals in half a season at Falkirk, has scored over 25 senior goals in his career, and now joins Rovers.

He said: “I’m very happy to be here and that the deal is done. I’m really looking forward to being out on the pitch now.

“When the interest came I had worked with Liam Buckley before at St Patrick’s Athletic and I saw it as a good opportunity to come back to a good league and a good club. Most of the lads I played with at Under-19 level before I left are playing in the league now so that’s good to come back and see that.

“I’m here to score goals, that’s why the club brought me in so I’ll try to score as many as I can and play well and try to get as high up in the table as we can.

“The lads are in pre-season but I like to think I’m fit enough now. I’m halfway through the season. I will look to hit the ground running. I did have a couple of other options in Ireland but they didn’t have European football with them. That was a difference.

“The other factor was I know how Liam Buckley sets up and plays football from working under him before. I like to think I’m good with the ball myself and so I’m looking forward to getting involved with that and linking the play. I can come short, run behind the defence, I don’t really mind and it depends how the team sets up. As long as I’m getting service in the box I’m hopeful I’ll do well.”

Keena would like to see Rovers continue their top four finishes from the last two seasons and wants his goals to help that.

“It’s third and fourth in the league the last two seasons so you don’t look down. You want to stay up there and go higher and try to challenge for it. We’re not far off it. I think a lot of clubs will be looking to have a go at it this season.

“I want to score goals, the more I can score the better the team will do. If I can do that the team will be up there.”

Manager Liam Buckley, who worked with Keena at St Pat’s, said: “Aidan will bring a lot to the group. As well as an ability to score goals he is an extremely hard worker and a good presence.

“He’s a smashing guy and comes to us at a very good time for both parties. He has been on short-term loans which are never easy and shown he can score and do well for a team. Defenders will find it difficult against him and we’ll give him the platform to show what he’s about.

“Since he left St Pat’s I watched his progress and he feels it’s a good time to come to Ireland and play. I’m delighted to bring him here.

“Aidan has been playing matches in Scotland as they are mid-season, he scored in back-to-back games over Christmas so we’ll do our best to make sure he settles in well and he’ll be available to us in the upcoming friendly matches.”

Buckley added: “Squads evolve over time and we will bring in more quality players to the club. I look at our group and I could reel off the top-class players we have here. Aidan joins that list now and we’re not finished in who we are bringing in. When we complete that it will leave us competitive, I feel.”