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Hoops swoop for Scotland starlet Gary Mackay-Steven

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic boss Ronny Deila began preparing for next season by signing Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven on a pre-contract agreement.

The Parkhead side confirmed last night that the 24-year-old Scotland cap will join the Scottish champions this summer.

Mackay-Steven, who started his career with Ross County, made his first-team debut for United in July 2011 and has gone on to make almost 130 appearances for the Tayside club.

United, in a statement, claimed the player had rejected several attempts to extend his contract, "including an offer that would have made him one of the highest earners at Tannadice".

"He is a player we have been looking at for a long time," said Deila as he prepared for today's trip to Hamilton, defender Adam Matthews ruling out revenge as a motive for Celtic's bid for victory.

The Lanarkshire side grabbed the headlines in October when they beat Deila's men 1-0 at Parkhead with their first win over the Hoops in 76 years.

Matthews, who missed the defeat to Hamilton, said: "You don't like to lose to any team. But we're not looking for revenge.

"We go into this game the same we do every game, looking to win and play as well as we can.

"Obviously there's a bit more pressure playing catch-up but we know if we win our games in hand we go back top."

Aberdeen - who host Dundee today - are four points clear but Celtic have two games in hand.

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