JAMES McCARTHY is pondering his future at Celtic with three years still to run on his contract.

The 31-year-old Republic of Ireland midfielder joined his boyhood idols last summer after leaving Crystal Palace.

However, McCarthy made only six starts in the Premiership-winning campaign and was not on the substitutes’ bench for the opening league encounter against Aberdeen at Parkhead on Sunday.

The former Hamilton Accies, Wigan and Everton star appears to have dropped down the pecking order with the arrival of Australian World Cup anchorman Aaron Mooy, who has just agreed a two-year deal to be reunited with his one-time international gaffer Ang Postecoglou.

ON THE BALL…James McCarthy in control during a rare first-team outing.

He made his debut off the bench in the 2-0 win over the Dons as the champions got off to the perfect start in the defence of their title.

It is believed McCarthy has options in England and is now weighing up his situation at the Hoops, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.

Decision time is coming up fast for the stylish performer with the transfer deadline at midnight at the end of this month.

Skipper Callum McGregor, of course, is the main man in the Celts’ engine room and the unfortunate Yosuke Ideguchi, who missed the term’s kick-off after a training ground injury, can also play in the holding role.

McCarthy, who made 13 appearances in total, was an unused sub when Postecoglou lifted his first silverware as Hoops manager in the 2-1 win over Hibs in the Premier Sports League Cup Final at Hampden six days before Christmas.

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