Speaking to the media today at Parkhead, prior to the fan’s getting their turn to question him, he told us all what many of us known; that all the talk in the past had some grounding in fact and truth.
“I’m delighted to be here, and it’s been a long time coming, but it’s a dream come true for me and the family and I can’t wait to get started. “It’s been going on for years to be honest, it’s been this and that with things here and there but the past two or three weeks it was actually go, go, go. As I say it’s been a long time coming and I’m delighted to be here, it’s amazing.”
McCarthy should never have been allowed to get away in the first place.
From an early age it was obvious that this lad was going to be a top footballer, and it was shocking that we allowed him to go.
Some people have tried to blame Tony Mowbray; all you have to do is Google the reports from our failed pursuit to see that we actually offered Hamilton half what the clubs in England were willing to; a mere £500,000.
We lost the kid haggling over a half million pound.
Yet there’s always been a certain inevitability about his coming back home, and the rumour mill has been churning out stories to that effect for a long time. It’s clear that these weren’t just idle gossip; I’ve talked about a solid story from a few years back when McCarthy was actually up in Scotland and telling people that the move was on … yet it didn’t come.
It seems strange to say this, and there’s a kind of irony to it, but it might actually turn out to be the best thing that has happened to our club that McCarthy suffered his injury when he did, because at that point there was talk of a move to Manchester United or some other super-club, where I think he’d have been a standout … and we’ve never have got him.
That injury put some sides off, and his travails when he came back from it, only to fall to another, have made those kind of clubs wary … when the move finally came it was to Palace and not a bigger team.
He rewarded that faith with an almost faultless first campaign.
It was in his second where he faltered, but nevertheless made 16 league appearances.
Now he’s here, at last, at the club where he was on the books as a youth, the club he has supported all of his life, the club he calls home … and where he will be made welcome by a raucous Celtic Park crowd which has been waiting for this almost as long as he has.