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Page last updated at 20:52 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 21:52 UK

McCourt seals transfer to Celtic

Pat McCourt arrives at Celtic Park for signing talks
McCourt is delighted to be joining the club he supports

Celtic have completed the signing of winger Pat McCourt from Derry City for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old Northern Ireland international has agreed a three-year deal with the Scottish champions.

"This is a dream come true for me," McCourt, who was a target for West Brom, told the Celtic website.

"There was interest from a few clubs but as soon as I found out that Celtic were in for me, my mind was made up. I have always been a Celtic supporter."

The versatile winger, who can play on either side, added: "I'm joining one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"Celtic have won the SPL title three times in a row and compete in the Champions League every season. What more could you ask for?

"My first target is to get a good pre-season under my belt and then take it from there.

"The quality in the Celtic squad is unbelievable but I'll be trying to push my way into the manager's plans as soon as possible.

"I can't wait to get started."

West Brom dropped their interest in McCourt after agreeing a transfer fee with Derry City and personal terms with the player.

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Baggies manager Tony Mowbray explained: "Pat was one of the players we wanted to bring in, but on our terms.

"During the club's discussions with Pat, it became clear he had other options where he feels he may have a greater opportunity to play first-team football."

McCourt joined Rochdale at the age of 16 before moving back to Ireland with Shamrock Rovers and then Derry. He has one cap for Northern Ireland.

And former Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy believes McCourt could prove a hit with Celtic fans.

"I had him as a young boy and, when he played at Rochdale, you could see the ability and skill that he had straight away," he said.

"It was a matter of sticking at it and I was shocked that he didn't kick on, to be honest.

"People were talking about him going on to become a big international player at that time. Maybe it all just came too soon for him."

McIllroy added: "Gordon Strachan is at Celtic and hopefully he can get him playing to his strengths again."




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