The Next McGeady?

The latest in a string of young players in Scotland to defect to Ireland - this guy sounds like he might be great.

Scots miss out on Accies kid
HAMILTON ACCIES wonderkid Jamie McCarthy is ready to copy Celtic’s Aiden McGeady - and snub Scotland for the Republic of Ireland.
The 15-year-old made his debut for Accies in their 2-1 derby defeat of Airdrie on Saturday where he was watched by Sean McCaffrey, manager of the Republic’s Under-17s.
And McCaffrey is ready to hand McCarthy - who has already been watched by Barcelona - his first cap for the Republic in Dublin against Italy on January 19.
McCarthy qualifies for the green of Ireland through his grandfather.
McCaffrey said: "I don’t need a second look to know that he will be Eire’s gain and Scotland’s loss.
"It is a major plus that his grandfather Paddy Coyle was a Donegal man and had such a big influence on Jamie.
“I saw Roy Keane at a similar age and I know what a talent Jamie has. We will be delighted to integrate him in the Under-17 side.”
Accies’ boss Billy Reid is delighted his star youngster has gained international recognition - but laments the fact Scotland will miss out on another outstanding home-grown talent
He groaned: "I am so sad Scotland have missed out on Jamie. It happened to me when I was at Clyde and I gave Craig Bryson his debut at 16 and he never got a sniff of an age-group international.
“It seems the only way you get picked to play for Scotland at Under-17s is if you play for the Old Firm. Jamie made his debut in a Hamilton side joint top of the First Division, but he’s not good enough for Scot-land Under-17s. It’s mad.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy’s first-team starting debut was watched by Man United and Chelsea while Plymouth Argyle are also believed to be keen on the Accies kid.
But McCarthy’s football advisor George Gray, of Braveheart Promotions, said: “I hope Jamie will stay at Hamilton at least until the end of the season.”

Saw that there alright, interesting that he has chosen us ahead of the Scots. I’m very sceptical about the whole Barcelona/Man Ure/Chelsea link though, and the mention of his football advisor George Gray, of Braveheart Promotions adds to my scepticism. Hopefully he’ll turn into something good for us though.

Apparently his agent is a bit of a gangster - by reputation anyway - in Scotland. And I’d take the Barca comments with a pinch of salt. However he has played a handful of games at 15 which is definitely unusual so he looks like a decent prospect.

He looks well young though in that photo.

Scotland are having a big problem hanging on to some youngsters. Recently Jim O’Brien of Celtic switched to Ireland and a guy called McLean from Rangers I think (now Motherwell) went to the 6 counties. They have an archaic schools squad system in operation which was a big reason in McGeady switching anyway. McGeady was contracted to Celtic as a trainee and was understandably not allowed by his club to play for his school at the same time. But Scotland selected their squads on the basis of schools matches so he couldn’t play for Scotland even though everyone knew he was good enough.

FAI do seem more proactive in chasing youngsters of late though especially in the occupied 6 which is pissing the nordies off.

Interesting stuff. He must have something about him if he’s playing first team football at 15. Obviously too young to judge at this stage.

Might be a bit early to say he may be great but he certainly seems like a good prospect alright. Hopefully he keeps his head on his shoulders and well see in another few years.

McCarthy came off after 38 minutes on Saturday - either he was injured or the bubble has burst already.

Either there is something about this kid or his agent is superb at hying him. According to the Gossip section on football, Man Ure, Villa, Bolton and RANGERS are interested!

Off topic: Owen Garvan is on the comeback trail also, unused sub for the Tractor Boys on Saturday.

Liverpool close in on 16-year-old star report

January 5, 2007

Liverpool are reportedly closing in on 16-year-old Hamilton Academical star Jamie McCarthy, who declared for the Republic of Ireland late last year.

McCarthy has already played ten league games for the Accies this season, his performances attracting the attention of a host of scouts from top-rank clubs.

Premiership leaders Manchester United and European champions Barcelona are rumoured to be keeping tabs on the Scottish-born youngster, but according to a report in Fridays Irish Independent, Liverpool are at the front of the queue for his services.

The report reveals that McCarthy spent a fortnight at Liverpools Melwood base last month, and could finalise a 100,000 move to Anfield in the coming weeks.

McCarthy became the youngest ever scorer in the Scottish Cup on Saturday - he played the full game and scored in a 4-2 defeat against Livingston.

He scored both of the goals against Livingston (I presume). Celtic should snap him up.

Reds launch bid for McCarthy
09/01/2007 - 12:23:09

Hamilton manager Billy Reid has confirmed that Liverpool have made an offer for 16-year-old Jamie McCarthy.

The young attacking midfielder has attracted attention from several clubs since making his first-team debut against Queen of the South in September.

He has just started a trial with Reading, and Reid said: Liverpool have made an offer for Jamie but he has not refused or accepted as yet.

McCarthy spent last week on trial at Melwood and as a result of his performance the Anfield club tabled their undisclosed offer to Scottish Division One side Hamilton.

However, the teenager is leaving his options open and will spend the next few days training with Liverpools Barclays Premiership rivals.

Reid said: Jamie is at Reading for the next couple of days and Im on my way there now.

Reading is a well-run team, as are Liverpool. But there is so much interest in Jamie just now and were not in a hurry to sell him. He is just going to take it as it comes and make the right decision for himself.

At only 16 years and 55 days old, McCarthy became the youngest goalscorer in Hamiltons history when he netted against Livingston in the Tennents Scottish Cup at the weekend.

You’d have to say it’s unlikely that a young Celtic fan who has declared for Ireland over Scotland would be interested in joining the huns. Anyway I’d like to see him at Celtic Park.

Old Firm chasing Hamilton youth

Hamilton Academical 16-year-old James McCarthy will have talks with Celtic and Rangers over the next few days.
But his agent told BBC Sport that the midfielder still has an open mind about his final destination.

George Gray was talking as the pair returned from two days spent with English Premiership outfit Reading.

Liverpool have already tabled an undisclosed bid for McCarthy, who scored his first senior goal, against Livingston, on Saturday.

Hamilton manager Billy Reid said: “Liverpool made an offer for Jamie, but it has not refused or accepted as yet.”

The teenager took in the Royals’ FA Cup tie against Burnley on Tuesday.

McCarthy spent last week on trial at Melwood and, as a result of his performance, the Anfield club tabled their undisclosed offer to the Scottish Division One club.

Reid said he would be joining McCarthy during his visit to Reading.

“Reading is a well-run team, as are Liverpool,” he said. "But there is so much interest in Jamie just now and we’re not in a hurry to sell him.

“He is just going to take it as it comes and make the right decision for himself.”

Evening Times think he’ll be joining Rangers because it was Kenny McDowell who was pursuing him for Celtic. Can’t see it happening.

Also Hamilton have confirmed that Chelsea want him down next week - Frank Arnesen registered his interest.

Who needs Terry Dixon - this guy is getting some serious interest.

From the Hunday Mail in Scotland:


Gerrard tells wonder kid Jamie he’d be crazy not to join up at Kop

Scott Mcdermott

LIVERPOOL goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek looked on helplessly as the ball flew past him into the top corner.

Luis Garcia, Peter Crouch, Robbie Fowler and Anfield boss Rafa Benitez watched in amazement - as a 16-year-old, ginger-haired Scot scored the goal of his dreams.

James McCarthy had just convinced EVERYONE at the club he was the real deal.

That’s exactly how a whirlwind three weeks started for the Hamilton Accies wonderkid.

Since then James has been linked with another 11 clubs - Celtic, Rangers, Manchester United, Chelsea, Newcastle, Reading, Aston Villa, Bolton, Barcelona, Deportivo La Coruna and Villarreal.

He only turned 16 in November but James is the hottest property in Scotland. You wouldn’t know it, though His laid-back down-toearth attitude is a credit to himself, parents Willie and Marie and Accies boss Billy Reid.

James has already trained with Liverpool, Reading and Celtic’s first-team squads in the past fortnight - Chelsea should be next in line with an invitation to Stamford Bridge. But James will never forget his trip to Melwood, Liverpool’s training facility.

Not only did he mix it with some of Europe’s top stars he also got to meet one of his heroes - Reds skipper Steven Gerrard.

James told MailSport: "Liverpool was excellent. I was well looked after and they have great facilities.

"Benitez took time out to speak to me which was great. He asked how I’d enjoyed my two days and seemed like a good guy.

"I took part in a game for the reserves against the first team. It was guys who hadn’t played in Liverpool’s game on the Saturday.

"I played for the reserves in the first half against the likes of Dudek, Stephen Warnock, Garcia, Crouch, Bolo Zenden and Fowler.

"We were one down when I got the ball 25 yards out. No-one came towards me so I just hit it and it ended up in the top corner.

"It was great to score against a top keeper like Dudek. I enjoyed playing against some of the best players in England.

"I even played in their team in the second half. That was easy - every time I got the ball I had a pass on.

"Big Crouch was speaking to me during the game and a few of them came up to me after the strike and said: ‘What a goal, well done.’

"Gerrard also spoke to me. He was asking me where I came from and when I said Glasgow he told me he thought it was a great city.

"He said Liverpool was just the same and if I joined them I’d like it because it’s similar to Glasgow.

"Steven is a big hero of mine. It’s unbelievable what he can do.

"He’s an amazing player who plays in the same position as me.

"When I met him I couldn’t believe it. I was a bit overawed.

"I was sitting onmy own one day in the canteen because none of the younger boys was finished yet.

"Gerrard just came up, sat down next to me and had his lunch.

“I don’t think Benitez would have told him to do it - I just think that’s the type of person Steven is.”

Liverpool were left in no doubt over James’ talent and immediately tabled a 130,000 bid which Hamilton rejected.

Suddenly, every team in the UK wanted to lure him away from Accies. He thoroughly enjoyed two days’ training with Reading and was well impressed by Irish striker Kevin Doyle and midfielder Steve Sidwell. But despite the intense interest James didn’t foresee what would happen next - a training stint with his boyhood idols.

He said: "Billy Reid pulled me in last week and asked if I wanted to go to Celtic for a couple of days. "Of course I said: ‘Aye nae bother.’ I was surprised but happy.

"I like Celtic and used to go to all their games before I started playing Saturdays at Hamilton.

"If the deal was right for me I’d like to go there one day but we’ll need to wait and see. I went into the reserve dressing room at Parkhead on my first day and Darren O’Dea and Aiden McGeady were there.

"They sat and talked away, asking if I was alright. "There was an eight v eight game taking place at Barrowfield with the players w h o weren’t involved in Celtic’s win against Hearts at Tynecastle last Sunday.

"The first team just came in for a cool-down. But I played alongside guys like Neil Lennon, McGeady, Derek Riordan and John Kennedy.

"I went to Barrowfield in Scott Cuthbert’s car and he was great. A few of the young boys helped me a lot in those two days. Gordon Strachan spoke to me too.

“He told me I was doing well but had to keep it up.”

James finds it hard to put into words what the last few weeks have been like for him.

He’s already Hamilton’s youngestever scorer - having netted against Livingston aged just 16 years and 55 days - and has become a regular. But if Accies hadn’t picked him up from boys foot - ball in weren’t Castlemilk, James could have been LOST to the game forever.

He said: "When I left school and signed for Hamilton I could never have dreamed this would happen.

"I’ve changed a lot in a short space of time - because I’ve had to grow up a lot in the last couple of months.

"I had two years at Livingston and could have ended up playing there but I didn’t like the travelling.

"So I just went back to boys club football. The team was called Livingston BC but it was a local side.

"I was there for a year and no big clubs came. Only Hamilton asked to sign me halfway through the season.

"I was only 15 when I came to the club and I’ve worked my way up.


“Alot of young boys think they’ve made it when they play in the first team but my family will keep my feet on the ground.”

James insists he’s in no hurry to leave Hamilton and the level-headed kid still does all his YTS duties.

He said: "I don’t know what to think when clubs are linked with me. But I would be happy to stay at Accies and see what happens.

"I don’t mind doing my YTS duties. I still need to clean the boots and the dressing room as I’m learning my trade.

“There are temptations for young people like me but I don’t want to drink at all.”

The teenager is being guided by advisor George Gray, agent Bill McMurdo and Braveheart Promotions. James is confident his career is in the right hands and thanked George in particular for his help so far.

He said: “George and Braveheart have done well by me. Bill is also on board now and he has been good.”

Bids in so far:

Celtic offered 250k plus two players on loan
Liverpool offered 750k plus 1k a week wages
Chelsea are to bid in next couple of days

Liverpool looks most likely so far apparently.

I heard Liverpool are throwing in a house too so his mother can come down and live there with him.


Chelsea, Liverpool, Celtic and Reading all want him but 16-year-old wonder-kid JAMES McCARTHY proves just a modest boy who admits he’s happy to stay and learn his trade with Hamilton.

IT’S fair to say James McCarthy didn’t play like Steven Gerrard on Saturday. But every once in a while he would play a pass or make a run that provided a glimpse of what all the fuss is about.

The Hamilton youngster lasted only 51 minutes of the 2-1 win at Livingston before boss Billy Reid recognised the kid’s Duracells had ground to a halt. So he took him off and wrapped an arm around him.

That should come as no surprise. Reid acts like a protective parent around his 16-year-old protege.

Twenty-four hours earlier he’d stayed by McCarthy as the boy sat down to speak about the meteoric rise that has seen Liverpool, Reading and Celtic make substantial offers for his services while Chelsea prepare to trump them all with an offer that could be worth 1million to Hamilton in the long run.

On Saturday Reid demonstrated his caring attitude towards the midfield prospect as he finally ran out of steam at the end of a whirlwind week that had seen him play three games, including making his international debut for the Irish Republic’s Under-17s, while under the kind of microscope most players double his age never have to cope with.

Reid whipped McCarthy off for his own good as much as the team’s. The energy from box-to-box that so many people have compared to a young Gerrard just wasn’t in evidence and although he had provided a couple of quality passes, the lad was just off the pace and the decision to remove him was the right one.

He’d even taken stick from a section of the Livingston support, who sang ‘Liverpool - you’re having a laugh’ as he took a corner in front of them.

Ultimately, McCarthy WILL be laughing. Either in the Premiership or with the club he has supported boy and boy. He’d walked into the away dressing room at New Douglas Park 24 hours earlier, smiling shyly and offering his hand as he prepared to speak about his new-found fame.

Most people would be freaked out by the attention he’s received but this baby-faced, ginger-haired kid from Castlemilk seems genuinely unfazed.
At 5ft 11in and with a bigger build than most of his peers, he does seem equipped to be playing a man’s game at a boy’s age. But it’s his mentality that shines through on the first meeting.

He clearly believes he belongs and it is that self-assurance - which thankfully remains miles on the right side of arrogance - that has allowed him to travel to Liverpool, Reading and Celtic and train with first-team players.

The fact that all three have offered to sign him on the back of the trials he’s had tell you all need to know.

Yet, he’s happy where he is. He insists staying at Hamilton for the rest of the season is his preferred option and while that might be giving the club’s directors palpitations, they know they have an asset that will only appreciate in value.

He said: “I am coping fine with all the hype. I just enjoy playing football. I enjoy being here. I’m well looked after. Getting first-team football at my age was a surprise, especially when I was first picked as a 15-year-old but I think I’ve handled it okay.”

He’s enjoyed travelling to other clubs and meeting his hero Gerrard remains a highlight - but McCarthy knows there are pitfalls in moving to England too young, which is why Celtic might just win the fight for his signature.

He said: "The prospect of moving away from here and maybe down south is a lot to think about. I know I will move from Hamilton at some point but I am really enjoying it here.

"I went to Celtic for two days and loved it. I grew up a Celtic fan and one advantage of going there would be that I wouldn’t have to leave home yet.

“Darren O’Dea spoke to me when I was there because he’d heard I’d chosen to play for the Republic of Ireland. I spoke to Aiden McGeady as well.”

The decision to play for Ireland in honour of his grandparents wasn’t a tough one for him. Not when his native Scotland has never asked him to represent them at any level.

He prefers not to dwell on the issue and appears to have made up his mind but at club level he still doesn’t know what the future holds. He said: "Liverpool was great. The training facilities were fantastic and I got to play in a bounce game as well as meet a few of the first-team players.

"Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch and a lot of others were very friendly.

"Gerrard is one of my favourites but thankfully I hadn’t been likened to him at the stage I met him - that could have been embarrassing.

"It’s good to get comparisons with someone such as Gerrard but I don’t pay too much attention. I will have to work hard to be anything like him.

“But I am really enjoying being at Hamilton. I think I’ll be here for the rest of the season. At least I hope I will because I’ll continue to develop here.”

He will. And if he remains as grounded as he is at the moment he will choose his destination wisely.

He smiles when you ask him what his mates think of the fuss and the eyes sparkle with boyish enthusiasm.

He said: "They are are always on the phone telling me well done and asking who is watching me this week.

“But they are always winding me up about my picture being in the paper. Nothing has changed really.”

But everything will change sooner or later and even the Livingston fans who also chanted “Who are you?” at him know it.

He knows who he is, all right. James McCarthy. Remember the name

McCarthy rejects Liverpool move

James McCarthy has rejected a move to Liverpool that could have earned Hamilton Accies 1m for the 16-year-old midfielder, his agent has claimed.

Celtic, Rangers, Reading, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur were also interested in McCarthy.

Agent Bill McMurdo told The Sun: "Liverpool wanted to take him to Italy for a tournament last week.

“They agreed to meet Hamilton’s asking price, which would have earned them around 1m if James made the grade.”

McCarthy has made 24 appearances for First Division outfit Accies after breaking into the first-team at New Douglas Park.

“Sheffield United were also desperate to sign him and said they would put him straight into their reserve side,” added McMurdo.

"They said he would be in the first team within a year.

"Reading and Spurs were also after James, while here, Rangers and Celtic are interested.

"But he has decided that he wants to stay with Hamilton for another year.

"I can’t fault his judgement. He has only just left school and is from a close family.

“If he feels happier waiting for another season then that is the right thing to do.”

Strachan was at Hamilton’s game today. McCarthy didn’t score (in a 2-0 win) but had a good game apparently.