KILMARNOCK boss Lee Clark is ready to solve his defensive problems by signing young Celtic centre-half Eoghan O’Connell on loan for the rest of the season.

As Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops squad jetted out to Dubai yesterday, the 21-year-old Irishman remained at home and will report to Rugby Park on Monday.

O’Connell made seven appearances for the Parkhead side at the start of the season, including the Champions League matches against Astana, Hapoel Beer-Sheva and Barcelona.

However, he was pushed down the pecking order 
following the return to fitness of Jozo Simunovic and the arrival of Kolo Toure.

Rodgers indicated in November that it would be best for O’Connell, who has already had spells with Oldham and Cork City, to gain further experience.

Killie were so short at the back in their final game of 2016 against Partick Thistle that Gary Dicker had to move into central defence to play beside youngster Iain Wilson.

Regular centre-backs Miles Addison and Scott Boyd are injured, while Jonathan Burn is heading back to parent club Middlesbrough and Will Boyle has returned to Huddersfield Town along with striker Flo Bojaj.

Gaffer Clark is also hoping to bring in three players from Newcastle United’s development squad – keeper Freddie Woodman, forward Callum Roberts and midfielder Sean Longstaff.


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