Former favourite reveals hilarious reason he joined Celtic over West Brom

By Jay Williams

September 18, 2018

Former Celtic winger Paddy McCourt has admitted that Gordon Strachan did not know who he was when he first joined.

In an interview with Simon Ferry on Open Goal, McCourt revealed that Irish businessman and Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond signed him.

From Derry to Celtic

McCourt joined Celtic from Derry City in 2008, changing his mind at the last minute just as he was about to sign for West Brom.

He spent five years with the Bhoys, winning two league titles, two Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup title.

The 18-cap ex-Northern Ireland international was a boyhood Celtic fan and earned his dream move in 2008 in comical fashion.

‘Strachan hadn’t a clue who I was’

Gordon Strachan had no idea who Paddy McCourt was (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

In his interview with Peterhead midfielder Ferry, McCourt claimed that business tycoon Desmond signed him rather than Strachan.

Recounting the story, McCourt told Ferry: “When I turned up on the first day I knew for a fact Strachan looked at me and hadn’t a clue who I was, not one clue did he have. A friend of Dermot’s is big into the League of Ireland and I was about to sign for West Brom.

“I think he rang Dermot and said look, ‘This lad’s good enough’. Dermot phoned Peter and said, ‘Look I want to do this,’ and that’s how it came about.

“As a young boy I supported them [Celtic]. They’ve got a huge following back home where I live. The opportunity, I felt, would never come again. I definitely wouldn’t have taken the chance of passing it up.”

Horrendous haircut

McCourt was a big fans’ favourite at Celtic (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Former Celtic schoolboy Ferry prompted McCourt to share more about Strachan’s reaction on his first day of training.

He asked McCourt how long it took for him realise Strachan didn’t know who he was. The 34-year-old said:

“About 30 seconds when he looked at me and said, ‘What’s your name?’ No, no – it wasn’t as bad as that.

“I had that horrendous haircut at the time too. I think he was looking at that and going, ‘F*** – who’s this boy?’

“Looking back now, I probably wouldn’t have cared. I was going from Derry City to Celtic. I didn’t care if the manager signed me or not – I was going!”