Report: Lee O'Connor looks poised for Celtic loan exit

By John McGinley

January 12, 2020

Celtic’s transfer business so far during the January window has all been about trimming.

Winger Scott Sinclair left the club last week to join Preston permanently, while it looks increasingly likely we’re on the brink of an announcement when it comes to Lewis Morgan’s switch to Inter Miami (The Daily Mail).

Neil Lennon isn’t wasting time in cutting some of the fat from his squad.

One player who looks set to leave in more hopeful circumstances is defender Lee O’Connor, with The Glasgow Times reporting on Friday that he’s set to leave the club on loan this month.

Although there’s been no comment from Celtic on the matter, that move would appear to be more in aid of the player’s development than Lennon making a decision he is not good enough for the Hoops squad.

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O’Connor only arrived last summer, after all, announced as one of the bright teenagers to make a switch from English football.

The Glasgow Times reckons that Oxford United are currently in the mix to land him.

Will such a move benefit him?

Oxford play in League One, which isn’t the worst standard for a young player learning his trade – just ask Callum McGregor.

The U’s are pushing for promotion and playoff places this season so that pressure of having to win will stand the Irish youngster in good stead for a future Celtic impact.

O’Connor clearly has talent. Earlier this season the Man United graduate was in the rare position to earn a senior international cap with Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland side before even making a club senior debut.

Celtic defender Lee O’Connor / (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Now 19, it’s clear that at this stage of his career, O’Connor is not going to benefit from reserve friendlies or cup games. Such are the limitations of development football in Scotland, the second half of his season is far better off taking place in the English lower leagues.

It’ll be interesting to see if any other clubs come in for the versatile defender during the next couple of weeks.

Wherever he ends up, he should return to Celtic Park a better player for the move.