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James McCarthy close to full fitness after Celtic cup cameo

Celtic v Heart of Midlothian – Premier Sports Cup – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

James McCarthy believes he is not far off catching up with his fitness following his “dream” Celtic debut.

The 30-year-old midfielder came on in the 75th minute of Celtic’s Premier Sports Cup win over Hearts on Sunday.

The Republic of Ireland international is almost two weeks into his Celtic career after training on his own during pre-season and is in a hurry to catch up with his team-mates.

On his first appearance, the former Hamilton, Wigan, Everton and Crystal Palace player told Celtic TV: “It’s a dream come true. I’ve said that from when I joined the club, it’s been a massive thing for me and the family.

“I’ve always wanted to play for Celtic, and coming out, and the reception I got, it’s one you dream of as a kid, and I’m delighted to be a part of it now, as I need to make sure the hard work continues now.

“The most important thing was getting through to the next round of the cup, and we’ve done that.

“Obviously, it was nice to get some minutes for myself, with me not doing pre-season with all of the lads, so I’m still doing a wee bit of catch-up, but I’m getting there now.

“I’m definitely not far away and, as I said, the most important thing now is that we are through to the next round of the cup and we are looking forward to the next challenge during the week.”