Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

McCourt delivers reminder to Celtic boss Lennon

Paddy McCourt

Paddy McCourt reopened the debate about his value to Celtic with another wonderful solo goal in the Scottish Premier League against Inverness at Parkhead on Saturday.

The enigmatic Northern Ireland international has struggled to pin down a regular starting berth since signing from Derry City in 2008 and came off the bench once more, this time in the ninth minute when skipper Shaun Maloney had to limp off.

McCourt was involved in Ki Sung-yueng's first-half opener and in the 65th minute, with an even better effort than the one which won the points at Inverness on the opening day of the season, he doubled the home side's lead.

Had Celtic's woeful defending not resulted in the loss of two home points for the second week running, the 26-year-old's cool finish after slaloming through the visitors' defence, would have made the headlines, an assertion shared by manager Neil Lennon.

However, McCourt knows his struggle to persuade his fellow Ulsterman that he has the capacity to be a 90 minute player will continue.

Asked if his performance would have given Lennon food for thought with regards a starting berth, the winger said: “I have said it a million times, I hope so, but at the end of the day that's the manager's decision.

“I think I have played in most games this season either coming on or from the start.

“I'm quite happy with the way things have gone personally, but I just think that we need to be mentally stronger and when things are not going well in the last 10 or 15 minutes of a game, we stay stronger and see games out.”

MeanwhileLennon will have to wait to discover his fate after today's meeting of the Scottish FA's general purposes committee was cancelled due to the weather.

Lennon faces an automatic two-match ban for being sent off during the defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle on November 10, following a furious tirade against fourth official Steven McLean.

Lennon confirmed plans to appeal the statutory ban but could face further charges if the general purposes committee decide his post-match comments merit punishment.