Could the Derry Pele be Celtic’s Solskjaer?

by Joe McHugh Will there ever be a solution to the Paddy McCourt debate?

The 26-year-old scored his third goal of the season at St Johnstone on Sunday without having completed a full ninety minutes for the club- a Boydesque scoring record to most folk.

Is Paddy destined to be an impact player, formerly known as super-sub, or can he evolve into a 90 minute man that his manager can trust?
There are very few super-subs around even in these days of squad rotation with players moving on as soon as they fall out of the first team picture.
Only Ole Gunar Solskjaer fitted the bill, happy in his role as regular substitute and coming on to turn the course of matches.
Over half of the Norwegian’s appearances for Manchester United were as a substitute as he helped himself to 128 goals before being forced into retirement through injury.
McCourt is well into his second season at Celtic and is no longer the enigma that scored wonder goals on a monthly basis for last season’s reserve side.
Back-to-back goals against Falkirk and St Mirren early in the season added to the picture as his dribbling skills- and goalscoring ability- were brought to the attention of a larger audience.
Tony Mowbray tried to sign McCourt for West Brom and has given him five starts this season.
Deciding where to play McCourt seems as much of an issue as getting 90 minutes out of him however as we saw on Sunday 30 minutes of quality is much more useful than 90 minutes of needless running around.
Is he a winger, would he be best playing behind the strikers or more effective coming from a deep midfield position?
Mowbray is a manager who puts an emphasis on skill and flair and is clearly willing McCourt to succeed but equally unsure over his fitness and reliability.
As a compromise having a substitute that glides effortlessly past tiring defenders and who knows how to find the net could be a priceless weapon.
Mowbray has often spoken about developing players by working on them at the training ground. The gymnasium is probably where McCourt needs to work on hardest although it’s unlikely that any amount of gym work could transform him into the new Didier Agathe.
Equally no amount of time on the training ground improved Agathe’s crossing or passing although his naked pace was used effectively throghout Martin O’Neill’s time at the club.
With three SPL games coming up in the next seven days we’re unlikely to get any answers in the short term.
As a squad player McCourt could be invaluable in a tight battle for the championship- even if he never gets around to completing 90 minutes in a Celtic jersey.
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  • Robert says:

    Pat McCourt is a rare find, not since Laudrup graced Scottish football have we seen such a graceful runner with the ball, if we can get him even playing 45 mins it'll be worth retaining his services. He is more effective than Aidan as his end product and shooting etc are exceptional. One thing I wouldnt do is continue to throw him on with 10 min remaining when we are chasing a game as it takes him a bit to get into his stride and he ends up trying too hard when against the clock, but i've no doubt if BTM sticks with him he could be the next Lubo, and that, is worth the admission money alone.

  • Anonymous says:

    Having played, coached and managed at a "decent" level I feel I am equipped to comment on players and their abilities and contribution to the team…….
    I have a simplistic view on a foot baller…they are either good or they're not……….it's easy to establish those who are not..but when it comes to those who are…that's when you have to ask..how good are they?
    Pat mcCourt has "tanner ba'" skills that you don't see too often , coupled with an ability to find the target..which would lead you to the conclusion that he's a great player.
    Except that …great players are first name on the sheet every week and walk into the team unopposed.
    So ….what's the problem ??
    As I am not associated with Celtic in an official sense…I don't know……
    What I do know , however, is that if he is not first pick ( which he clearly is not) then it's because he is lacking in the something that great players have.
    Bottom line , therefore, is that we have to accept the fact that we have a player who, COULD DO THE BUSINESS FOR US IN A BIG WAY…but , for whatever reason….
    DOESN'T !!
    Back to you Mr.McCourt.

  • Anonymous says:

    y not give him a start in some matches now then give him a good run at the huns at the end off next month with mc geady

  • Anonymous says:

    p.m.f.a derry city

  • jinky 1888 says:

    bring him on 30 min 2 go no dout but he needs 2 stop eatting pizza & drinking beer after training and matches hes not playing 4 derry city no more hope 2 c him rip the huns a part 28 fed come the hoops & p.m.f.a

  • Anonymous says:

    HE looks like one of the ten brave men mccourt mccourt
    HE sings a nation once again mccourt mccourt
    Hes from the north, he votes sinn fein
    He gets the ball an he scores again
    Paddy Mccourt Celtic To The Core

    Thought l'd introduce my introduction with a wee song. If you look at the form book from Rochdale to Celtic, Paddy's appearance to goal ratio isn't remarkable but there is no doubt that this ' Not so young man ' has the ability to change a game. My personal opinion is that he has got club and international experience under his belt so should be given more of a game. Mowbray has got him acting a ' Super Sub ' at the moment which is fair enough but that's only because his lack of understanding on formation strategy is severly lacking and he still can't figure it out ; which in turn puts twinkle toes McCourt out of action for yet another 70 or so minutes. l'll go back to a point l made before ; ' Not so young man ' Moany faced Mowbray needs to give the boy a chance before it's to late and yet another gem gets dusty and pawned out the door.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that because of how good he seems to be , yet cannot hold down his place in the team , there has to be a reason he's not first pick.
    One poster suggested his "off-field " diet needs changing ( beer and pizza ??)…
    I don't know if that's true or not…
    But there must be something missing in his make-up…….
    otherwise he'd walk into the team .

  • Joe McHugh says:

    I don't think that there are any off field or diet issues with Paddy, in the current climate a player buying a fish supper is likely to find himself on YouTube or the front of a paper.

    It's a strange general fitness level issue that seems to be difficult to pick up and improve in in his mid 20s.

    Whatever his fitness level he offers more than a teamfull of headless chickens and there's no shortage of them around, players with Paddy's ability are much rarer.

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