Matchday: Perth's success is mental, says Keogh

A-League import Andy Keogh increasingly looks like one of the signings of the season.

The Irish international’s goals have helped Perth relive their past glories with the outfit surprising many football fans by leading after eight rounds.

But Keogh, who was capped 30 times at international level, says the WA team’s hot start to the season was always on the cards.

“Of course it’s something we expected,” Keogh said.

“We wouldn’t have worked so hard in pre-season in our preparation if we didn’t expect to be where we are.

“We signed players that want to win. I certainly want to win – I haven’t come here to be second best. I would be disappointed if we weren’t near the top.”

After the disappointments of previous seasons, Keogh said a change in attitude has fuelled the resurgent Glory.

“It was there (the high expectations) because we signed new players,” Keogh said.

“The manager expected us from day one in preseason – the old players that were here last year and the new signings – to look to a new mentality.

“They’ve changed their mindset and that’s what’s happened.

“I could have stayed in Europe but I wanted to come here, and I didn’t just want to come for a holiday I wanted to come to make a difference in the A- League and win things.”

Perth Glory takes on Sydney FC tonight in what is arguably their toughest test since they lost to Adelaide in round three.

Keogh has no qualms about his team’s chances and says Perth will be focusing on their own game rather than the home team.

“We’ll approach it like we’ll have every other game – professionally, prepared well – sometimes you never know what’s going to happen in football,” the 28-year-old said.

“If we do what we have been – and we know we can do even better – then we have a good chance of getting a result. We know we are probably the best team and squad on our day.

“We are a team that works harder than most. There’s probably not a team in the league that has the togetherness of us, so if we get everything clicking then I think they’ll be worrying about us tonight.”

In the first eight rounds of the A-League  season, Glory have faced only one of the other top four sides which resulted in a defeat to Adelaide.

But Keogh denies that has contributed to Perth’s current standing at the top of the league ladder.

“We’ve competed in every game we’ve been given and that’s what it is,” he said.

“Critics like to talk, but the facts are there to be seen - we are top and that’s how it is.”

Glory’s success this season is not limited to the A-League. They are also in the final of the inaugural FFA Cup against Adelaide.

The Irish striker has scored five goals in the Cup campaign to date and says the team have their gaze set firmly on the prize.

“The FFA Cup is great for football over here,” Keogh added.

 “The season is short enough and this helps to get more competitive games.

“I think every year it’s only going to grow and clubs will want to win it more and more, especially if they give the winners an Asian Champions League spot as well.”

Some imports struggle early in the A-League but Keogh believes his mindset has helped him adjust quicker than most.

“Every player is different, maybe these players think when they come over it’s going to be easy,” he said. “I’ve never been of that mind.

“I give my all whatever game it is, whatever club I’m at and whatever training session I go to.”

Perth’s coach Kenny Lowe, who has orchestrated the club’s strong season start, has a larger than life sideline persona, but the Irishman says he’s a different character behind closed doors.

“He’s calm, he sets out what we need to do, he goes through it and we go out and try and implement it,” Keogh said.

“He’s very good, he treats us like men, he’s very particular about his work, and he’s been a big reason as well why we’ve come so far this season.

“I think everyone in the squad has nothing but good things to say about the new manager.”

Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out Episode Three of his latest A- League Football Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.