Celtic news – Hoops step-up Long chase, O’Dea seeks talks, U19’s get big draw

Hoops step-up Long chase.

Celtic are ready to lead the chase for Reading´s Shane Long as the Championship club face a player exodus after failing to reach the Premier League.

The Republic of Ireland international scored 23 league and cup goals last season plus three for his country, and Hoops boss Neil Lennon has had him watched in recent weeks.

Reading chairman Sir John Madejski told the Reading Chronicle: “I am aware of Celtic’s interest in Shane Long. Neil Lennon has been watching him for three games now. He has been at our past two games and there again at Wembley.

“We are still to hear anything official from Celtic but it is obvious they are interested. How confident am I we can ward off Celtic’s interest? Not very.

“Shane is world class,” added Madejski. “What is the value I would place on him? £20m.”

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O’Dea seeks talks.

Darren O´Dea wants clear the air talks with Celtic manager Neil Lennon to see if he still has a future at Parkhead.

The Republic of Ireland international spent last season on loan at Ipswich Town and still has a year left on his contract, but he looks likely to leave if he cannot be guaranteed first-team football next term.

“I will just have to wait and see what happens in the summer,” he told the Glasgow Evening Times. “I will certainly not be going out on loan again.

“Celtic have been fantastic to me and I owe my whole career to them. I am not saying that I am done at Celtic. I have a great relationship with Neil Lennon. It is just a case of whether or not I am going to play.”

U19’s get big draw.

Celtic´s Under-19 team will face Barcelona, Manchester City and Marseille in the group stages of a new Champions League-style youth tournament next season, reports STV.

The tournament sees four groups of four teams competing for a place in the knockout stages, which will be held as a single tournament next January in Abu Dhabi.

There are already plans to play home games at Celtic Park providing they do not clash with first-team fixtures and Chris McCart, head of youth development at the club, said: “This is fantastic and something we have been part of from the very beginning. It is a really difficult group and we are going to have six excellent games of the very highest standard.

“It will be a strong and difficult challenge when you look at the investments of Barcelona and Man City, who spends tens of millions on their academies.”

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