In this morning’s Scottish Sun, it was reported that Paddy McCourt has told Celtic manager Neil Lennon that he wants a move away from Celtic Park. Despite being a cult figure for the Celtic fans it is reported that he could move away to seek regular first team football. It may be a controversial opinion, but I think that Paddy McCourt should be sold.
With two years left on his contract, much of which will be spent warming the bench, his wages are wasted and could be used towards paying someone who will have more impact or more potential than McCourt.
His former Derry and Celtic team-mate Niall McGinn has already made the move away, albeit on loan to Brentford, in a bid to secure first team football. After just 14 starts since his move from Derry in June 2008, the ‘Derry Pele’ as he is affectionately known as by the Celtic faithful, should be sold on as he is a luxury that Celtic cannot afford.
Midfield is one area of the team that Celtic do not need to strengthen, but they do need to cull the deadwood and McCourt – despite his ‘wonder goals’ – should be on that list, along with Samaras, Murphy, Rasmussen and Hooiveld.
The latest wonder goal from the Celtic cult figure occurred on international duty with Northern Ireland against minnows the Faroe Islands. That goal saw the Northern Irishman linked somewhat ludicrously with a move to Liverpool, and it is safe to say that despite such links he will not be heading to Anfield. He has more of a chance signing for Ian Holloway’s Blackpool side. With two weeks of the transfer window remaining, Celtic should cut their ties with the fan’s favourite, no matter how much flak they get for it.
There is no denying that McCourt has superb talent and skill, but he lacks match fitness, more importantly consistency and this is his Achilles heel. Celtic need players who can fight for every ball for 90 minutes, deliver the goods and do it week on week, as they look towards wrestling the SPL crown from the hands of their rivals Rangers. McCourt is a luxury that Celtic cannot afford both in terms of wages and in terms of the place he takes on the bench.
While Celtic have finally signed a goalkeeper, despite Lukasz Zaluska not putting a foot wrong in competitive action this season, and continue to hunt the elusive Craig Bellamy, in a transfer saga that is nearly as long as that of Rangers’ chase of David Goodwillie. Celtic need to ditch the deadwood and bring in players who can deliver the goods.
Getting rid of a fan favourite, will always cause derision from the masses, but those with an ounce of football knowledge should think with their heads rather than with their hearts and realise that McCourt should be ditched for whatever money they can get for him.
The ideal replacement? Jamie Murphy from Motherwell.