Celtic have announced that John Keane has retired as Director and Honorary Chairman of Celtic Football and Athletic Club.

Hailed as one of the men who saved Celtic from the brink, John pledged £1 million to save Celtic from going into administration which kept the club afloat. 

The Director also backed Fergus McCann’s takeover with further crucial investment as well as giving backing to current members of the board and the majority shareholder Dermot Desmond. 

John played a hugely significant role in preserving the Club’s history and the club as a whole and served as a non-executive director of Celtic Football and Athletic Club for well over 20 years.

READ MORE: The saving of Celtic: 20 years on. Part III: Fergus McCann

His crucial role was recognised at Celtic’s AGM in 2013, when he was confirmed as the Honorary Chairman of CFAC.  

Paying tribute to his role in maintaining the history of the club Celtic Chairman Ian Bankier said: “When the Club’s very survival was in doubt, John was there to play a crucial role and he is someone who should forever be regarded as one of the most important figures in the Club’s history.

“I know with John standing down from the Board, our supporters will take this opportunity to applaud the fantastic contribution of a great Celtic man and join me in wishing him well on his retirement.

“I know, too, that John will continue to support the Club as passionately as he always did. John will always be a friend of the Club and we sincerely thank him for all he has done for Celtic.”

Dermot Desmond commented: “John has been a lifelong, passionate and steadfast supporter of our great Club. He came to Celtic’s rescue in its hour of need. I wish John well in his retirement and thank him for his enormous contribution.”

Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell said: “I would like to thank John sincerely for all he has given to the Club over such a long period. He has been a tremendous friend and support to me personally but above all he is a man who put the Club ahead of anything else.   

"He made such a wonderful contribution to Celtic in the 1990s - ultimately a gesture which saved Celtic – and ever since has been a hugely important part of the Club’s fabric.

“A man always with the best interests of Celtic at heart, across more than two decades, he has provided invaluable support and counsel to the Club. As Celtic supporters, we all owe John an enormous debt of gratitude for everything he has done for the Club, in protecting our continuity, in preserving our history and ultimately in bringing Celtic to where it stands today.

“We all wish John, Kathleen and the whole family all the very best for the future.”

READ MORE: Hampden Park: An open letter by former Celtic owner Fergus McCann 

John Keane added: ”It has been an honour and privilege to be part of Celtic, a Club I have loved so dearly all my life. I would like to thank Dermot Desmond, Ian Bankier and Peter Lawwell and all other directors, past and present, who have worked together and so tirelessly in the best interests of the Club.

“I also wish to pay tribute to all other staff at the Club and, of course, our supporters who give so much to Celtic and make it the wonderful institution it is today. I will always be a Celtic supporter and I wish the Club nothing but continued success for the future.”