McCourt playing for Celtic in 2010
|Full name||Patrick James McCourt|
|Date of birth||16 December 1983|
|Place of birth||Derry, Northern Ireland|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|2014–2015||Brighton & Hove Albion||10||(0)|
|2015||→ Notts County (loan)||12||(1)|
|2002–2005||Northern Ireland U21||9||(0)|
|2009||Northern Ireland B||1||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:30, 2 April 2016 (UTC).
He started his professional career with English Football League side Rochdale in 2001 before moving to League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers in 2005. Later that year he moved to his home-town club, Derry City, where he won the League of Ireland Cup three times in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the FAI Cup in 2006. At Derry, he gained the nickname "The Derry Pelé" for his skilful play. In 2008 he signed for Scottish Premier League club Celtic; the club he supported as a boy. In a five-season spell with Celtic, McCourt won the Scottish Cup in 2011 and 2013 and the SPL title in 2011–12 and 2012–13. Despite being a fan favourite at the club, he failed to gain a regular first-team place and was released in June 2013. McCourt then signed a one-year contract at English Championship side Barnsley, though the club was relegated during the 2013–14 season and McCourt was released. He signed a one-year deal with Brighton & Hove Albion for the 2014–15 campaign, but featured little and joined League One club Notts County on loan for the final third of the season. He left Brighton and in July 2015 signed for Luton Town of League Two on a two-year contract. He was released by mutual consent one year into his contract to enable him to return to Northern Ireland.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Club career
- 3 International career
- 4 Style of play
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 Honours
- 8 References
- 9 External links
McCourt began his career with an early move from Derry-based youth club Foyle Harps to English Third Division side Rochdale on a youth contract in 2000. He made his first-team debut in the Football League Trophy on 16 October 2001 and his potential persuaded the Spotland club to sign him on a three-and-a-half-year professional contract in December 2001. His first season ended with 23 appearances and four goals, going on to play in 30 matches the next season. His skilful playing style attracted the attention of Premier League clubs Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City.
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 and Crewe Alexandra, though neither club followed up their initial interest in him. A combination of injuries and loss of form hastened his departure from Rochdale in February 2005.
After Rochdale manager Steve Parkin informed him that he was to be released, McCourt headed for another trial, this time with Scottish Premier League outfit Motherwell. However, after two weeks at Fir Park a move failed to take place.
In March 2005, McCourt was signed by Roddy Collins, manager of League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers. McCourt scored three goals in his first six appearances for the Dublin club and topped the goalscoring charts by May 2005. As the club ran into financial difficulty, mainly due to the costs surrounding the building of Tallaght Stadium, Rovers were forced to place all players except McCourt on the transfer list. After seven goals in 17 appearances (three of which were goal of the season contenders) and following interest from Bristol City and Queens Park Rangers, the club, in dire need of funds, decided to sell McCourt. He was signed by his home-town club, Derry City, for a fee thought to be around £60,000. Despite leaving the club halfway through the season, he was Rovers' top goalscorer that season and won the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland Young Player of the Year award.
In his first few months at the club, McCourt helped Derry City to the League of Ireland Cup and runners-up position in the 2005 Premier Division. In the 2006 season, he played in Derry's UEFA Cup run, in which the club eventually lost to French giants Paris Saint-Germain, and helped them to win a cup double with victories in both the FAI Cup and League of Ireland Cup finals. McCourt scored four goals in 25 appearances for the Candystripes in the 2007 season and won a third League of Ireland Cup medal. His performances interested English club West Bromwich Albion and Derry announced in June 2008 that they had reached an agreement with the newly promoted Premier League side. However, Derry also agreed a fee with Scottish Premier League side Celtic, leaving McCourt to make his choice.
The lure of joining Celtic, the club he had supported as a boy, persuaded McCourt to move to Glasgow and, on 19 June 2008, he signed for a fee of £200,000 after agreeing a three-year contract. The manager who signed him, Gordon Strachan, would later claim that McCourt was "as gifted a footballer as I have ever seen."
McCourt made his competitive debut for Celtic on 25 October 2008 in a 4–2 win over Hibernian. In his first season, he featured primarily for the Celtic reserve team, playing in the deciding game on 28 April 2009 against Rangers reserves to clinch the Reserve League Title for the Hoops for the eighth season in succession.
On 23 September 2009, McCourt opened his goalscoring account for Celtic with a memorable goal in a League Cup match at Falkirk, in which he beat five defenders before chipping the ball over Bairns goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik. He then scored his first SPL goal on his first league start three days later against St Mirren, which saw him go past six defenders before beating the goalkeeper. On 24 January 2010, McCourt bagged his second league goal for Celtic against St Johnstone after a mazy run and finish into the top right hand corner, from just inside the penalty box. English Premier League newcomers Blackpool expressed an interest in McCourt following his performances throughout the 2009–10 season, prompting Celtic to offer him an improved contract, which he duly signed.
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 now-typical solo run and shot, beating three defenders and then netting from the edge of the box. He scored his second goal of the season – his first at Celtic Park – in Celtic's 3–0 victory over Hearts on 11 September 2010, beating three players before chipping the goalkeeper. On 6 November 2010, McCourt netted the final goal of Celtic's 9–0 demolition of Aberdeen. Later that month, he scored Celtic's 600th home SPL goal in a 2–2 draw with Inverness at Celtic Park, with another jinking run and precise finish. On 29 December 2010, McCourt scored the winning goal in a 1–0 win against Motherwell. On 26 January, McCourt added another SPL goal in a 4–0 win over Hearts. He came on as a substitute in the 2011 Scottish Cup Final on 21 May 2011, a 3–0 win over Motherwell, to win his first silverware in Scotland. On 15 August 2011 it was reported that several English clubs, including Liverpool, were interested in buying him.
McCourt was mainly used as a late substitute over the course of the next two seasons, failing to score a single goal, though he was part of the Celtic team that won both the 2011–12 and 2012–13 SPL titles, as well as the 2013 Scottish Cup. In the final at Hampden Park, a 3–0 victory over Hibernian, he entered play as a substitute and was handed the captain's armband in what proved to be his final appearance for the club. McCourt left Celtic after his contract expired in June 2013, having played in a total of 88 games, scoring ten goals. On 6 August 2013, he began training with Hibernian to try and win a contract, but no move materialised.
On 22 August 2013, McCourt signed for English Championship side Barnsley, managed by his former Rochdale team-mate David Flitcroft, on a one-year deal. He made his debut on 21 September 2013 at home to Watford. He played in 23 league games for the club, scoring twice, before being released at the end of the season. One goal, which opened the scoring in Barnsley's 3–2 victory over Middlesbrough, saw McCourt guide the ball into the box and take out six opposition players, before finishing past the goalkeeper from the six-yard line. The goal was shortlisted for The Football League Goal of the Year award, though lost to Franck Moussa's chip for Coventry City against Leyton Orient.
Brighton & Hove Albion
On 19 August 2014, McCourt signed a one-year contract with Brighton & Hove Albion of the Championship. He found his playing time limited and, on 21 February 2015, joined Notts County on loan until the end of the campaign. He played in 12 League One games for County, scoring once.
In April 2015, Brighton confirmed that McCourt, who had played for the Seagulls 13 times over the season, would not be offered a new contract.
McCourt has represented Northern Ireland at senior international level. He has also received nine caps for the Northern Ireland under-21s between 2002 and 2005 while playing for Rochdale and played once for the Northern Ireland B team while in the Celtic reserve team.
He had an almost-seven year wait for his second cap, which came in February 2009 against San Marino in a qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup. Northern Ireland won the game 3–0. Following his breakthrough 2010–11 season at Celtic, McCourt has been named in a number of Northern Ireland squads, primarily playing as a substitute.
He scored his first international goals with two "superb" solo efforts, as he helped Northern Ireland to a 4–0 victory over the Faroe Islands in a 2012 European Championship qualification match on 10 August 2011. The second goal, which saw him dribble the ball for 40 yards past four players and finish with a close-range chip over the opposition goalkeeper, was described by the Belfast Telegraph as "one of the best ever witnessed" for Northern Ireland.
Style of play
McCourt is known for his technical ability and propensity for scoring "wonder goals". At Derry, he gained the nickname "The Derry Pelé" for his skilful play and is often referred to by his previous clubs' fans as a "cult hero" for his crowd-pleasing displays.
McCourt has two older brothers; Harry and Leroy. Harry also played for Derry City and was joint-top scorer in the Irish League during the 1991–92 season while playing for Omagh Town. He also won the 1997–98 Irish League with Cliftonville and now serves as a director at Derry. Leroy has previously worked as a scout for various English and Scottish clubs and is a FIFA registered football agent; his brother Paddy being one of his clients.
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 team-mate Niall McGinn were sent similar packages earlier in the same week.
- As of match played 2 April 2016.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Shamrock Rovers||2005||Ireland Premier Division||17||7||0||0||0||0||—||—||17||7|
|Derry City||2005||Ireland Premier Division||15||1||0||0||2||0||—||—||17||1|
|2006||Ireland Premier Division||21||2||3||1||2||0||3[b]||0||—||29||3|
|2007||Ireland Premier Division||17||2||3||1||3||1||2[c]||0||—||25||4|
|2008||Ireland Premier Division||7||0||0||0||0||0||—||—||7||0|
|Celtic||2008–09||Scottish Premier League||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||—||5||0|
|2009–10||Scottish Premier League||9||2||1||0||2||1||2[d]||0||—||14||3|
|2010–11||Scottish Premier League||25||7||3||0||2||0||1[c]||0||—||31||7|
|2011–12||Scottish Premier League||13||0||2||0||1||0||2[e]||0||—||18||0|
|2012–13||Scottish Premier League||15||0||1||0||2||0||2[c]||0||—||20||0|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||2014–15||Championship||10||0||0||0||3||0||—||—||13||0|
|Notts County (loan)||2014–15||League One||12||1||0||0||0||0||—||0||0||12||1|
|Luton Town||2015–16||League Two||24||1||1||0||0||0||—||0||0||25||1|
- As of match played 13 November 2015.
- As of match played 13 November 2015. Northern Ireland score listed first, score column indicates score after each McCourt goal.
|1||10 August 2011||Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland||7||Faroe Islands||3–0||4–0||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|||
- League of Ireland Premier Division runner-up (2): 2005, 2006
- FAI Cup (1): 2006
- League of Ireland Cup (3): 2005, 2006, 2007
- Scottish Premier League runner-up (3): 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11
- Scottish Premier League (2): 2011–12, 2012–13
- Scottish League Cup (1): 2009
- Scottish League Cup runner-up (2): 2011, 2012
- Scottish Cup (2): 2011, 2013
- PFAI Young Player of the Year (1): 2005
- League of Ireland Premier Division Player of the Month (1): June 2006
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2005/06. Mainstream Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 1-85291-662-1.
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- Falkirk 0 – 4 Celtic BBC Sport, 23 September 2009
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- Fortune favours the Hoops against Saints Celtic FC, 24 January 2007
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- Keir Murray Inverness CT 0 – 1 Celtic BBC Sport, 14 August 2010
- "Celtic 9–0 Aberdeen". BBC Sport. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
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- "Paddy McCourt and Magnus Okuonghae join Luton Town". BBC Sport. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
- "Games played by Paddy McCourt in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "Paddy McCourt leaves the Hatters". Luton Town F.C. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Paddy McCourt and Guy Bates agree one-year deals with Glenavon". BBC Sport. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- Paddy McCourt recalled to Northern Ireland squad Scotsman.com, 29 September 2009
- McCourt given senior chance The Independent, 11 April 2002
- Raul mauls McIlroy's makeshift side in Spanish stroll The Guardian, 18 April 2002
- McCourt ready for his second cap Londonderry Sentinel, 9 February 2009
- San Marino 0–3 Northern Ireland BBC Sport, 11 February 2009
- "N Ireland 4–0 Faroe Islands". BBC Sport. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- "Where did it all go wrong for Paddy McCourt?". Belfast Telegraph]. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Opinion: Celtic's Cult Hero Paddy McCourt Should Be Sold". Scotzine. 20 August 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "McCourt is happy to be back on the samba beat with Reds". Yorkshire Post. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Paddy McCourt is a cult hero at Celtic but no-one is guaranteed a position here, says Neil Lennon". Daily Record. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
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- "Games played by Paddy McCourt in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Games played by Paddy McCourt in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Games played by Paddy McCourt in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
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- "Player of the Month". Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2016.