CELTIC NEWCOMER Pat McCourt will not be fazed by comparisons with George Best and Aiden McGeady.
The 24-year-old Northern Ireland international was unknown to most Hoops fans last week when he signed from Derry City for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal.
But Roddy Collins, who signed McCourt for Shamrock Rovers, claimed the winger was as good as the iconic Best and a more “more naturally talented” footballer than Celtic hero McGeady.
McCourt, who was unveiled at Celtic Park yesterday, insists the praise from his former boss will not put him under pressure when he meets up his new team-mates.
“I don’t look at it as pressure. It’s nice to hear that type of praise.” he said.
“George Best was probably the best player in the world and Aiden McGeady over the last two or three years has really turned in to a world class player in my eyes. But obviously it’s not something I really pay much heed to.
“I’m just looking to get in a good pre-season and take it from there.
“I’m an attacking player, a player who likes to take players on and hopefully I can get in the team and create and score as many goals as possible.”
McCourt, who can play on either flank, is well aware that McGeady and the talismanic Japan international Shunsuke Nakamura will be barring his way to a first team spot at Parkhead next season.
“I know all about Aiden and Shunsuke Nakamura — I support Celtic,” the former Rochdale player said.
“In Ireland we play on a Friday night so I watched a lot of their games on television. I won’t be intimidated. I am looking forward to it.
“McGeady and Nakamura are the last two winners of the player of the year award in Scotland so I know how hard a task it’s going to be but it’s something I look forward to and if I get my chance I want to grab it.
“They have got the wide berths at the moment but if you look beyond that, I don’t think there are many here at the minute who are natural wingers.
“I know Derek Riordan has filled in at times but I think he was bought as a striker. So I can provide cover and if you are playing 50 or 60 games a season like Celtic do then they can’t play every game.”
McCourt admits he is still coming to terms with being invited to join his boyhood heroes.
“It’s something that I’ve always dreamt about my whole life and to get the opportunity to come play for this club was unbelievable. It was a shock but a good shock.
“To be honest, I was nervous when I heard that Celtic’s interest was serious. I wanted the medical and everything to go okay and it was a relief to sign. It’s only in the last few days that I’ve been able to enjoy it and look forward to coming in next week.”
He added: “My first trip was when I was about 12 or 13 to see them play Motherwell. At the time Celtic were beating everyone five and six nil but they only won one-nil, I think Henrik Larsson scored a penalty.
“That was my first time here but it was fantastic to have a look again and take it all in.”
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