What’s happening with James McCarthy at Celtic?

The James McCarthy signing had all the hallmarks of a Dermot Desmond/Peter Lawwell deal. So did our biggest shareholder pay up to end it this summer?

Celtic v Blackburn Rovers – Pre Season Friendly – Celtic Park James McCarthy, Scott Bain and Mikey Johnston arriving at Celtic Park, : Saturday July 16, 2022. Photo Andrew Milligan

One notable absentee from the recent Celtic player of the year awards was James McCarthy. Remember him? The Irish international who was signed under Ange Postecoglou in the summer of 2021 on a four year deal, so still has a year to run on that hugely expensive contract.

James to date has played 27 games for the club and spends most of his days training with the Celtic B side. He has not come close to a match day squad under Brendan Rodgers and an attempt by a Greek side to sign him on loan collapsed due to the percentage of his wage packet that they were prepared to pay.

One wit on Celtic twitter reckoned that it was the best anyway as he reckoned that of McCarthy went to Greece he’d melt!

James McCarthy. Photo Jane Barlow

Although it’s debatable if Ange had any say on the signing of the former Hamilton midfielder as it felt like very much a Dermot Desmond/ Peter Lawwell signing. An Irish midfielder with EPL experience who also happened to be a big Celtic supporter, it ticks all the boxes of a Desmond signing in my opinion.

It’s one thing signing a player of James’s reputation, and by that I mean his injury history, which is horrific, but to give him a four year deal? Whoever sanctioned that was taking a reckless risk that never looked like paying off.

I’m not having a go at James as it’s certainly not his fault and he has clearly been a popular squad member at Lennoxtown when he was training with the first team. After all who in their right mind is going to turn down a final big pay day, especially at the club they have supported all their life?

Celtic v AZ Alkmaar – James McCarthy at the end of the match at Celtic Park. Photo Andrew Milligan

James would have been on big salary having come from the EPL. You’ve got to be talking a salary in the region of 20 grand a week at least. That over the three years he has been here adds up to a huge amount. A huge amount that’s basically wasted money.

Surely it’s in everyone’s best interests if a deal was struck to let James go? It would free up some much needed cash from the wage bill and pave the way for a player who would actually contribute to the team.

Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell. Photo Vagelis Georgariou

If  Dermot Desmond got us into this situation,  it’s only fair that he digs deep into his pockets and ends it once and for all.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy

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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.


  1. Pointless signing, it also broke the buy young and cheap trading model.
    Hope that trading model dumped this summer, none seem to be able to make the grade, that includes Kuhn and Palma, both are similar players, both cut inside as neither can reach the byline.

    • It wasn’t a pointless signing at the time! When we signed him, most fans with half a brain could see that on paper this was a great signing! His experience, class, toughness, disire to win and love for Celtic ticked every box we Celtic fans look for!
      The only question mark was on his fitness. That’s where he never came good.
      So to say he was a “bad signing” isn’t accurate. He turned out to be a failed signing. But so did several others.

  2. Martin Leadbetter on

    Sorry but James McCarthy is hardly blameless in this. He is clearly aware he is not going to get a game for us – and has been for 2 seasons. Imagine being lucky enough to be a professional footballer, earn a lot of money from transfers to big teams but then be happy to take good money for next to nothing out of the club he claims to love. How many season tickets paid for by ordinary supporters has it taken to keep him ? Say dozen a week – that’s around 700 every
    year !
    Surely his pride and self respect should motivate him to get back playing every week – sure he would be a valuable regular at most SFPL clubs rather than taking money to do shuttles and sit ups every day. . He’s a footballer , or at least he used to be. I actually think it’s shameful. For what it’s worth I put Siegrist in the same boat – our 3rd keeper should be a younger development project.