Celtic extend McCourt deal

It is understood that Paddy McCourt has agreed a two-year extension to his current deal with Celtic.

The Northern Ireland international had a year of his contract to run but the new deal – which is “close” to completion – will keep him at Parkhead until 2013.

It is believed McCourt’s desire to make his mark at Celtic lay behind his decision to stay at the club despite overtures from Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, who had two bids for the midfielder rejected.

The boyhood Hoops’ fan has become a cult hero to the Parkhead support despite playing a peripheral role at the club since signing from Derry City in 2008.

McCourt featured heavily in Celtic’s pre-season games but was missing from the side which lost 3-0 to Sporting Braga in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifier in Portugal last night.

Manager Neil Lennon made his seventh new signing of the summer today when Israel midfielder Beram Kayal, 22, signed a four-year contract after completing his move from Maccabi Haifa, subject to final paperwork.

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