Paddy McCourt

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Paddy McCourt
McCourt Nov2010.jpg
McCourt playing for Celtic in 2010
Personal information
Full name Patrick James McCourt[1]
Date of birth (1983-12-16) 16 December 1983 (age 31)
Place of birth Derry, Northern Ireland
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current team
Notts County
(on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion)
Number 18
Youth career
1998–2000 Foyle Harps
2000–2001 Rochdale
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2005 Rochdale 79 (8)
2005 Shamrock Rovers 17 (7)
2005–2008 Derry City 61 (5)
2008–2013 Celtic 66 (9)
2013–2014 Barnsley 23 (2)
2014– Brighton & Hove Albion 10 (0)
2015– Notts County (loan) 6 (1)
National team
2002–2005 Northern Ireland U21 9 (0)
2009 Northern Ireland B 1 (0)
2002– Northern Ireland 14 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 March 2015.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 1 March 2015

Patrick James "Paddy" McCourt (born 16 December 1983) is a Northern Irish footballer who currently plays as a winger for Notts County, on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion. He also represents the Northern Ireland national team.

He started his career with English Football League side Rochdale in 2001, before moving to League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers in 2005. A year later he moved to his home town club, Derry City where he won the FAI Cup in 2006 and also won the League of Ireland Cup twice in 2006 and 2007. At Derry he gained the nickname "The Derry Pele".[2] In 2008 he signed for Scottish Premier League club Celtic and won the Scottish Cup in 2011. Despite being a fan favourite at the club, he failed to gain a regular first team place and was released in June 2013. On 22 August, it was announced he had signed a one-year contract at Barnsley.[3]

He made his Northern Ireland debut in 2002 but didn't play again until 2009. He scored his first two goals against the Faroe Islands on 10 August 2011.[4]

Early life[edit]

McCourt was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, and educated at Steelstown Primary School in Derry.[citation needed]

Club career[edit]


McCourt began his career with an early move from Foyle Harps to Rochdale on a youth team contract. His potential quickly persuaded the Spotland club to sign him on a three-and-a-half-year contract in December 2001, shortly after making his debut against Kidderminster Harriers. His first season ended with 23 appearances and four goals. This came at the peak of McCourt's early career,[5] and he attracted the attention of several Premier League clubs during 2002–03, including Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City.[6]

In the 2003–04 season, McCourt managed just a handful of starts for the club and had two spells away on trial with First Division sides Norwich City[7] and Crewe Alexandra, though neither club followed up their initial interest in him. Despite scoring goals during his spell at Spotland Stadium, a combination of injuries and loss of form hastened his departure from Rochdale in February 2005.

After Rochdale manager Steve Parkin had informed him that he was to be released, McCourt headed for another trial, this time with Scottish Premier League outfit Motherwell. Again a move failed to materialise after a two-week stay at Fir Park.

Shamrock Rovers[edit]

In March 2005, McCourt was signed by Roddy Collins, manager of League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers.[7]

He scored three goals in his first six appearances for the Dublin club and topped the goalscoring table by May 2005. As the club ran into financial difficulty, mainly due to the costs surrounding the building of Tallaght Stadium, the club were forced to place all their players on the transfer list for free, however, this excluded McCourt. After 7 goals in 17 appearances (3 of which were goal of the season contenders)[8] and following interest from Bristol City and Queens Park Rangers, Shamrock Rovers, in need of funds, decided to let McCourt go. The player was signed by his home-town club, Derry City, for a fee thought to be around £60,000. He was Rovers top goalscorer that season and won the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland award of 'Young Player of the Year'.[9]

Derry City[edit]

McCourt helped Derry City to the runners-up position in both the 2005 and 2006 League of Ireland seasons. In the 2006 season he played in their UEFA Cup run in wins over IFK Gothenburg and Gretna and helped Derry to the FAI Cup and League of Ireland Cup. McCourt scored six goals in 31 appearances for City in the 2007 season and won a League of Ireland Cup medal. His skill had reportedly interested West Bromwich Albion, and Derry City announced in June 2008 that they had reached agreement with the newly promoted Premier League side.[10]


McCourt at Celtic Park

In June 2008, Derry agreed a fee with Celtic for McCourt. Premier League club West Brom had also agreed terms with both player and club, as had Norwich City, but the lure of joining Celtic, the club he supported as a boy, persuaded McCourt to move to Glasgow.[11] On 19 June, McCourt signed for the club for an undisclosed fee after agreeing a three-year contract.[11] He made his competitive debut for Celtic on 25 October 2008 in the 4–2 win over Hibernian.[12]

He has featured prominently for the Celtic reserve team, particularly in the game on 28 April 2009 against Rangers which clinched the Reserve League Title for the Hoops for the eighth season in succession, a career high point for him.[13] He also appeared at the inaugural Wembley Cup in which he excelled for Celtic.[14] He featured in another of Celtic's pre-season friendly matches against Manchester City on 8 August 2009 at Eastlands.[15][16]

On 23 September, McCourt opened his goalscoring account for Celtic with a memorable goal in a League Cup match at Falkirk,[17] in which he beat five defenders before chipping the ball over Bairns goalkeeper Robert Olejnik. He then scored his first SPL goal in his first league start three days later, against St Mirren on 26 September,[18] a goal very similar to his previous strike, which saw him ghost past six defenders before beating the goalkeeper in addition. On 24 January 2010, McCourt bagged his second league goal for Celtic against St Johnstone after a mazy run and supreme finish into the top right hand corner, from just inside the penalty box.[19] McCourt also scored the second of Celtic's goals in a 2–1 victory over Seattle Sounders in a friendly match in Seattle on 18 July.[20]

In the first game of the 2010–11 SPL season, McCourt scored the only goal of the game against newly promoted Inverness CT with a typical solo run and shot, beating three defenders and then netting from the edge of the box.[21] He scored his second goal of the season – his first at Celtic Park – in Celtic's 3–0 victory over Hearts on 11 September, after spectacularly beating 3 players before chipping the goalkeeper. On 6 November, McCourt netted the final goal of Celtic's 9–0 demolition of Aberdeen from the penalty spot.[22] On 27 November, he scored Celtic's 600th home SPL goal[23] in a 2–2 draw with Inverness at Celtic Park, with another mazy run, and precise finish.[23] On 29 December, McCourt scored the winning goal in the a 1–0 win against Motherwell with another skilful run and 20-yard finish.[24] On 26 January, McCourt added another SPL goal, a 4–0 win over Hearts from just inside the penalty box.[25] On 15 August it was reported, after he had scored his first goals for Northern Ireland, that several English clubs, including Liverpool, were interested in buying him.[26]

McCourt left Celtic after his contract expired at the end of the 2012–13 season.[27] On 6 August 2013 McCourt began training with Hibernian with rumours of a short-term deal being made.[28]


On 22 August 2013, McCourt signed for Championship side Barnsley.[29] He made his debut on 21 September at home to Watford.[30]

Brighton & Hove Albion[edit]

It was announced on 19 August 2014 that McCourt had signed a one-year contract with Brighton & Hove Albion.[31]

International career[edit]

McCourt has represented Northern Ireland at International level.[32] He received nine caps for Northern Ireland under-21s.[33]

In April 2002, Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy handed him his senior international debut against Spain at Windsor Park.[34][35] His second cap came in February 2009 after he came on as a substitute against San Marino in a qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup.[36][37]

McCourt scored his first international brace with two exceptional solo goals, as he helped Northern Ireland to a 4–0 victory over the Faroe Islands in a 2012 European Championships qualification match on 10 August 2011.[4]

Personal life[edit]

McCourt's elder brother Harry also played for Derry City. Harry was also joint top scorer in the Irish League during the 1991–92 season[38] while playing for Omagh Town. He won the 1997–98 Irish League with Cliftonville. Harry now serves as a director at Derry City.[39]

On 12 January 2011, bullets were sent in the post to McCourt (i.e. a death threat), from an address in Northern Ireland. Celtic manager Neil Lennon and teammate Niall McGinn were sent similar packages earlier in the same week.[40]



Derry City



  1. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2005/06. Mainstream Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 1-85291-662-1. 
  2. ^ "‘Derry Pele’ McCourt moves to Barnsley". Derry Journal. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "McCourt Signs for Reds". 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  4. ^ a b "N Ireland 4–0 Faroe Islands". BBC Sport]. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  5. ^ Jonathan Greaney Hard work still to be done for Patrick Rochdale Observer, 11 March 2003
  6. ^ West Brom pull out of battle for McCourt as Celtic target Derry winger London Evening Standard, 19 June 2008
  7. ^ a b Patrick McCourt – Biography, Flown From the Nest, 10 September 2005
  8. ^ Shamrock Rovers v Bray Shamrock Rovers FC
  9. ^ Ireland – Player of the Year and Other Awards Rec Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation
  10. ^ "CityWeb - in association with TheBestOf City of Derry: Update on McCourt speculation". via Wayback Machine. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "McCourt seals transfer to Celtic". BBC Sport. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2008. 
  12. ^ Peter Jardine Celtic's McCourt says he just wants to be taken seriously Mail Online, 27 October 2008
  13. ^ "Rangers Reserves 0 Celtic Reserves 1". Daily Record (Media Scotland). 29 April 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Celtic Beat Tottenham Hotspur To Lift Inaugural Wembley Cup, 26 July 2009
  15. ^ City 2 Celtic 1 Manchester Evening News, 8 August 2009
  16. ^ City 2 Celtic 1 Manchester City FC, 8 August 2009
  17. ^ Falkirk 0 – 4 Celtic BBC Sport, 23 September 2009
  18. ^ Paddy McCourt and Shaun Maloney strike to take Celtic past St Mirren, 26 September 2009
  19. ^ Fortune favours the Hoops against Saints Celtic FC, 24 January 2007
  20. ^ Joe McHugh McCourt takes chance to make point, 19 July 2010
  21. ^ Keir Murray Inverness CT 0 – 1 Celtic BBC Sport, 14 August 2010
  22. ^ "Celtic 9–0 Aberdeen". BBC Sport. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  23. ^ a b "Celtic 2 – 2 Inverness CT". BBC Sport. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  24. ^ Celtic 1–0 Motherwell BBC Sport, 29 December 2010
  25. ^ Four-star Bhoys break Hearts Sky Sports, 26 January 2011
  26. ^ "Liverpool line up shock swoop for Celtic's 'Derry Pele' McCourt". Mail Online (Associated Newspapers). 15 August 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  27. ^ "Paddy McCourt to leave Celtic". 16 May 2013. 
  28. ^ "Pat McCourt joins training at Hibernian". BBC Sport. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  29. ^ "Barnsley sign former Celtic winger Paddy McCourt". BBC Sport. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  30. ^ "Barnsley 1-5 Watford". BBC Sport. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "Paddy McCourt: Brighton sign Northern Ireland winger". BBC Sport. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  32. ^ Profile of Pat McCourt Irish FA
  33. ^ Paddy McCourt recalled to Northern Ireland squad, 29 September 2009
  34. ^ McCourt given senior chance The Independent, 11 April 2002
  35. ^ Raul mauls McIlroy's makeshift side in Spanish stroll The Guardian, 18 April 2002
  36. ^ McCourt ready for his second cap Londonderry Sentinel, 9 February 2009
  37. ^ San Marino 0–3 Northern Ireland BBC Sport, 11 February 2009
  38. ^ Northern Ireland – List of Topscorers Rec Sport Soccer Statistics Foundation
  39. ^ Derry City to meet with season ticket holders BBC News, 4 December 2009
  40. ^ "Bullets in post target Celtic footballer Paddy McCourt". BBC News. 12 January 2011. 

External links[edit]