New Hoops deal for McCourt

Celtic have announced that Paddy McCourt has signed a new three-year contract.

The Northern Ireland winger had a year left on his deal but the Glasgow club offered him an improved and extended contract amid interest from Blackpool.

McCourt told www.celticfc.net: “I am absolutely delighted to commit my future to Celtic.”

The 26-year-old added: "As a Celtic supporter, everyone knows the feeling I have for the club.

“It was an absolute dream come true to sign for the club in the first place.

“This is where I want to play my football and I now look forward to the challenges ahead and fighting for my place in the team.”

McCourt signed from Derry City in the summer of 2008 after catching the eye with some impressive individual goals.

He initially struggled to match his team-mates’ fitness and was restricted to five substitute appearances in an injury-hit first season under Gordon Strachan.

But he broke into the team on a more regular basis under Tony Mowbray, playing 14 times and scoring three goals.

Two of those goals came days apart last September against Falkirk and St Mirren at the end of brilliant individual runs.

McCourt’s only competitive match under Neil Lennon was the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Ross County but he netted another sublime goal in a post-season friendly against St Pauli.

As Blackpool boss Ian Holloway renewed his long-standing interest, Celtic offered a two-year extension to McCourt, who played for Rochdale early in his career before going back across the Irish Sea.

The Northern Ireland international was an unused substitute on Wednesday as Celtic lost 3-0 to Sporting Braga in the first leg of the Champions League third qualifying round, but he has decided to keep trying to force his way into Lennon’s long-term plans rather than seek a move.

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