Paddy McCourt tells Celtic fans: If Aiden McGeady goes, I’m your man
Paddy McCourt has told Celtic supporters he can be the man to fill the void left by Aiden McGeady should his fellow winger quit Parkhead this summer.
McCourt signed a new three-year contract yesterday afternoon, ending speculation he could leave Celtic Park for Barclays Premier League new boys Blackpool.
The transfer talk surrounding McGeady is even more feverish and manager Neil Lennon has admitted he did not know if the Republic of Ireland international would stay or go.
But if he does leave, McCourt believes it would give him a better chance of finally showing what he can do.
“If he does leave, it'll definitely open up a space for me and it'll be up to me to grab it,” said McCourt.
Lennon openly compared the two players in expressing his delight at McCourt's decision to stay.
“You're talking about McGeady, you're talking about people entertaining crowds,” he said.
“I think traditionally the club has had that over the years — players who can beat people, eliminate people, take them out of the game. I want that in my team and Paddy certainly comes into that category.”
McCourt admitted Celtic's fans had not seen the best of him following an injury-plagued start to life in a Hoops jersey.
“I think I've only made 19 appearances in two years, so there's a lot more to come,” he said.
“That was for different reasons — injuries and fitness reasons — when I first came. But luckily I'm winning that battle so I'm hoping this could be my year to kick on and show my best.”
Northern Ireland winger McCourt had a year left on his previous deal and asked if he had been tempted to move away, he said: “I wouldn't say tempted. When you're not playing as much football as you like then you obviously have to consider your options.
“But after a few chats with the manager, I wasn't long making my mind up to stay here.
“It's a club I love and I'd have been disappointed to leave after the two years I've had here.
“I want to be successful here and I want my time here to be filled with medals and I haven't got one yet.”
Meanwhile, McGeady travelled with Celtic to London today ahead of this weekend's Emirates Cup and Lennon insisted the midfielder would play some part in the pre-season tournament.
Asked if he knew what McGeady wanted, Lennon said: “No. He wanted to play on Wednesday (in Braga), so that was a good sign, encouraging from our point of view.
“But I haven't really sat down and said, 'Are you away?', or 'Do you want to go?' or anything like that because I don't want to put unnecessary pressure on him.”
He added: “Obviously, there's strong interest — not just from Moscow. We do believe there's interest from other clubs as well.”
“He's a big player for us and he has been for a number of seasons.
“He was very important to me in the run-in to last season.
“He's a talented player, a very talented player. But every player has his price, and sometimes we can't stand in the way of that.
“If it's right for the club — the offer — and right for the player then it's hard to stop these things going through.”