Ex-Celtic ace Paddy McCourt to play last game for Finn Harps before retiring

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Former Celtic crowd pleaser Paddy McCourt will play his last ever game in football tonight before retirement.

The 34-year-old winger will hang up his boots after playing in Limerick for Donegal club Finn Harps in the second leg of the League of Ireland play-off.

Paddy McCourt in action for Celtic during a League Cup match in September 2012. Picture: SNS Group

Paddy McCourt in action for Celtic during a League Cup match in September 2012. Picture: SNS Group

He netted a penalty in his final home game earlier this week to secure a 1-0 first-leg win and is hoping to go out on a high at Markets Field.

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McCourt – who spent five years at Parkhead – will take on a new role as head of youth structures at Derry City after the game.

Finn Harps captain Ciaran Coll said: “The man’s a legend. When he has the ball, his feet are like glue. They don’t call him the Derry Pele for nothing. Hopefully he can do a bit of magic for us in the second leg.”

Capped 18 times by Northern Ireland, McCourt also had spells with Rochdale, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City, Barnsley, Brighton, Notts County, Luton and Glenavon as well as Harps.

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It emerged earlier this year that West Bromwich Albion had been hopeful of securing McCourt’s services before he signed for Celtic - and that Hoops majority shareholder Dermot Desmond had effectively signed the winger.

Speaking to Si Ferry’s Open Goal podcast, McCourt said: “I was at West Brom’s training ground. I later found out the story actually – Dermot was telling me one day.

“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’. So Dermot phoned Peter and said, ‘Look I want to do this,’ and that’s how it came about.”

Limerick finished second bottom of the League of Ireland Premier Division with 27 points - 15 fewer than eighth-placed Derry - having recorded just seven wins in 36 matches.

Harps finished as runners-up in the Irish second tier, just three points behind title-winners UCD.

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They recorded a string of impressive results, including a 7-1 win over Cabinteely, a 4-0 win over Athlone Town and won 16 of their 27 games.

Harps defeated Drogheda United 3-1 on aggregate in the match to decide who would face Limerick.