JOHNNY KENNY is due to return to Celtic a week tomorrow when his loan deal at Shamrock Rovers expires.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker cost the champions £125,000 when they signed him from Sligo Rovers in January 2022, but is still awaiting his first-team debut.

Kenny joined the Dublin outfit at the start of the year after a four-month stint at Queen’s Park. The hitman, who snubbed Hibs to move to the Hoops, is at the crossroads of his young career with boss Stephen Bradley, the League of Ireland side’s manager, eager to keep him for another campaign.

STRIKING SUCCESS…Johnny Kenny scores during Celtic’s pre-season tour of Germany in July last year. James Forrest gets a close-up view.

Kenny played for an hour when the team won their fourth successive title with a 2-0 victory over St Patrick’s Athletic last month, but admitted he is keen to try to impress Brendan Rodgers and can look to his friend Liam Scales for inspiration.

The 20-year-old forward said: “Stephen wants to keep me for next season, so we will see what comes of that. He reckons that’s best for my development, so we’ll just see what Celtic think.

“I think I want to go back, get as fit as possible, get training and, hopefully, impress the new manager. When I was there it was Ange [Postecoglou] and now Brendan is there, so I just want to get in and try to impress him.”

Kenny, who signed a five-year contract with the Parkhead club, continued: “I speak to Liam every day and he’s doing so well.

“He fully deserves the chance Brendan has given him.

WELCOME TO PARADISE…Johnny Kenny after sealing his £125,000 move to Celtic in January 2022.

“Ange let Liam go on loan to Aberdeen and he excelled there. He came back and probably thought he was going to go on loan again, but a few injuries gave him his opportunity. I think no-one is going to stop him at the moment.”

Kenny, speaking to The Independent last month, added: “When I went to Celtic, he was brilliant with me. I stayed in his apartment when I was at Queen’s Park, too.

“Seeing a player coming from Shamrock Rovers, where I am now, and in two years he’s playing in the Champions League for Celtic, it’s a dream.”

Now it’s Kenny’s turn to attempt to live the dream.

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