Cliftonville last night swooped to bring Linfield ace Conor Downey to Solitude for a third time in his career in a £10,000 deal.
Downey, who handed in a transfer request at Windsor Park during the summer, was thought to have changed his mind about wanting to quit the champions but the lure of his former club has proved too much to ignore.
The 26-year old midfielder has endured a difficult time at the Blues since signing a three-year full-time contract in January last year, playing only 27 times and scoring just once.
A cruciate knee ligament injury soon after signing was the catalyst for his misfortune but now he is determined to get his career back on track with his beloved Reds.
“When I signed for Linfield they were the club I wanted to be at. I wanted full-time football and I’ve tried it but it hasn’t worked it,” said Downey.
“My injury didn’t help things but I don’t regret signing for the Blues.
“There are a terrific club and I have made some very good friends. And the way they’ve handled my transfer request is something I will never forget and I am so grateful.
“I haven’t left because I didn’t think they were a good club; Cliftonville is a big part of my life and I knew I couldn’t be happy if I didn’t get a chance to go back.
“I’m just relieved and excited to be back and I can’t wait to concentrate only on football again.
“I always tried to be professional at the Blues, even when I knew I had to leave. To stay would not have been fair to the rest of the lads, the staff, fans or myself.
It was a beat the clock exercise for the Reds. Director Gerard Lawlor left their Setanta Sports Cup clash against Cork City to collect Downey at Windsor Park before taking him to Celtic Park.