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Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 14:51 UK

Accies reject Celtic McCarthy bid

Hamilton midfielder James McCarthy

McCarthy picks up Young Player award

Celtic have had an offer for 18-year-old midfielder James McCarthy rejected by Hamilton Academical.

The Scottish Premier League leaders tabled their bid on Wednesday and talks have followed between the two clubs.

But Accies manager Billy Reid said on Thursday: "The club have received an offer for James. I can say at this stage that it will be rejected."

However, the player would prefer a move to Celtic than to an English club and an improved offer appears likely.

Hamilton had already rejected a bid of about £500,000 from Portsmouth for McCarthy, who has chosen to play for Republic of Ireland instead of his native Scotland, and Reid hinted that a bid of more than double that would be required.

"James is the young player of the year in Scotland, he has played over 100 games for this club, he is the heartbeat of Hamilton Accies and he signed a three-year deal last term. So what price do you put on all of that?" he said.

"Although every player has his valuation, James would be well into seven figures.

James resisted going to Liverpool to stay at Hamilton and I think the boy showed his loyalty to the club

Agent Willie McKay

"But he is under contract at Hamilton until 2011 and he is happy here and has a big part to play for us over the last two games of the season."

A number of English Premier League clubs were again represented at New Douglas Park on Wednesday as McCarthy played in Accies' 1-0 defeat by Falkirk.

And Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Wigan, Blackburn, Sunderland, Wolves and Ipswich have all been linked with the teenager.

But the player's agent, Willie McKay, said: "It is a dream for a kid from Glasgow to play for Celtic or Rangers and, if Celtic can come close to the offers made by other clubs, they must be favourites as he would love to play for the club.

"His family will have a big say in where he eventually goes.

"Celtic know how much Premiership clubs are offering and I'm sure they would be prepared to pay what would be a lot of money for a teenager."

McKay thinks the 18-year-old is likely to become the highest-paid teenager in Scottish football history should the deal be concluded.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell and Accies chairman Ronnie MacDonald held discussions about McCarthy on Wednesday, but no agreement has yet been reached.

And a deal is unlikely to be concluded until relegation-threatened Hamilton secure their place in the Scottish Premier League next season.

However, McKay believes that the time might be right for McCarthy, who was voted PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year, to move and ensure Hamilton's production line of promising youths continues.

"He resisted going to Liverpool to stay at Hamilton and I think the boy showed his loyalty to the club," said the agent.

Meanwhile, McKay says there is also interest in McCarthy's 21-year-old team-mate, James McArthur, the Scotland Under-21 international who is also a product of Accies' youth system.

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see also
Hamilton 0-1 Falkirk
13 May 09 |  Scottish Premier
Accies reject Pompey McCarthy bid
06 May 09 |  Hamilton
Brown wins Player of Year award
04 May 09 |  Scottish Premier
McCarthy, Easton attract interest
28 Feb 09 |  Hamilton
Accies refuse to sell young stars
27 Jan 09 |  Hamilton
McCarthy nets young player award
06 Jan 09 |  Internationals
McCarthy picks up Young Player award
04 May 09 |  Scotland
Ramsey completes Arsenal switch
13 Jun 08 |  Arsenal

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