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McCourt plea for Celtic to replace McGeady

Paddy McCourt faces the most important season of his Celtic career as he bids to prove he can fill the void left by Aiden McGeady.

The Republic of Ireland international has completed a reported £9.5million move to Spartak Moscow and McCourt concedes the departure of the winger will be a blow for the Hoops.

However, he knows the loss of one of their key players will also pave the way for someone else to stake a claim for first-team football and is determined to be the one who benefits.

“We have probably lost our best player in the league so he is going to leave a big hole but it's up to someone to step up to the plate and fill it,” said McCourt.

Asked whether that person could be him, he replied: “I think so, me and maybe a couple of other boys.

“It's up to whoever gets the shout against Inverness today. They've got the jersey and it's up to them to hold onto it and I'm hoping it will be me.

“It's very important — it's the most important season since I've been here to be honest.

“This is the year where I really want to kick on and be a regular in the side.”

McCourt was a target of newly-promoted Barclays Premier League side Blackpool but opted to sign a new three-year deal with Celtic instead.

He said: “The thought of leaving here — the club I've supported all my life and dreamed of playing for — without actually winning anything was a thought that didn't excite me at all.”

McCourt is also hoping he will play alongside Craig Bellamy.

“It would be a massive boost for everyone if he came here,” he added.

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