Thursday, May 14, 2009

Celtic bid for McCarthy rejected

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

The Scottish Premier League leaders tabled their bid for the Ireland u21 international 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 represented Ireland at under age level.

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.

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