"I know what it means"; new Bhoy James McCarthy desperate to make Celtic mark

By Euan Davidson

August 6, 2021

James McCarthy has spoken with passion and excitement about returning to where it all began: Celtic Park.

The Ireland international, who became a Premier League mainstay with Wigan, Everton and Crystal Palace, is desperate to make his mark after returning to his boyhood club.

McCarthy moved to Hamilton Academical in his early teens, having trained with the Celtic Academy at Barrowfield. Now, at 30, he’s sent out a passionate message to supporters about his commitment to the club, after agreeing a four-year deal.

McCarthy said [Celtic FC]:

“I want to make sure I give everything. I know what it means myself, and growing up supporting Celtic, watching Celtic, I know what [it] means to the fans.

“The main thing I want to do is do well. For the club, my teammates and the fans.

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“I want to make sure we win games, I know the pressure that comes with that, and we need to make sure we win, week in, week out.”

McCarthy added [Celtic FC]:  

“I played for Hamilton at Celtic Park a couple of times, but to have the chance to do so in the home dressing room, and to have the backing of a full house, the thought alone is unbelievable and I can’t wait to experience it.”

You wouldn’t bet against James McCarthy making an impact at Celtic

While McCarthy’s injury problems are well-covered, the former Everton midfielder has never lacked commitment or quality when fit.

Simply put, you don’t make 272 Premier League appearances [Transfermarkt] without a certain level of ability. For Celtic to have landed him for nothing, then, is a potential bargain.

His assuredness in the tackle, distributing the ball and the leadership he can bring to Celtic could well be valuable. Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has brought in both prodigious young talents and experienced heads for the 21-22 campaign.

Fine, yes; we’ve been down this road before to a degree. Last season’s arrival of Shane Duffy, another boyhood Celtic supporter, seemed like a good deal on paper. McCarthy, though, has more vast top-flight experience. Even at the time, letting go of the midfielder to Hamilton seemed daft.

Now, even more so.

If McCarthy remains fit, he could be the missing ingredient Celtic are lacking in midfield. With a very solid CV and international experience behind him, you wouldn’t bet against him backing up his ambitious talk.

In other news: What’s Jablonec’s manager up to?