CELTIC are being linked yet again with James McCarthy – TWELVE years after he rejected the chance to join his boyhood favourites.

The Republic of Ireland international is a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace in the summer and reports claim the Hoops are looking at his situation, according to the Daily Mail.

Glasgow-born McCarthy, 30, had talks with the Parkhead club in 2009 when he was on the brink of quitting Hamilton Accies, but he chose to go to Wigan instead and spent   four years at the club before switching to Everton to reunite with manager Roberto Martinez.

Ange Postecoglou insisted after the 2-1 loss against Hears at Tynecastle at the weekend that the club were hopeful of bringing in two new faces before the end of the week, as CQN reported yesterday.

McCarthy has had to endure injury setbacks in recent seasons, but the Hoops now have a space in midfield to fill with Olivier Ntcham leaving after his contract was scrapped.

Another player who has just announced he is leaving the Selhurst Park club who may interest Postecoglou is former England international centre-back Gary Cahill who has spent two years at Palace after quitting Chelsea.

The 35-year-old stopper is now up for grabs and Celtic’s dire requirement for reinforcements in this crucial department was highlighted again in Edinburgh with another inept performance from Nir Bitton as a makeshift back-four operator.

The Hoops are also hoping to make progress in their pursuit of another ex-England star in keeper Joe Hart, 34, who is valued at £1million and still has a year of a £53,000-per-week contract at the London club to run after joining on a free from Burnley last summer.

Postecoglou also remains in the market for a right-back and winger.

Neil Lennon’s successor is currently preparing his players for Thursday’s Europa League first leg third qualifying round against Jabloned in the Czech Republic while Dundee will be Sunday’s league opponents at Parkhead.

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