CELTIC kid Lee O’Connor has agreed a season-long loan deal with Tranmere Rovers.

The Republic of Ireland international defender becomes the FOURTH Hoops star to move on a temporary switch as he follows striker Vakoun Bayo who has moved to France and Belgium-bound duo Jack Hendry and Marian Shved.

O’Connor, who joined the champions on a four-year contract from Manchester United on the September 2 transfer deadline last year, is still awaiting his first-team debut at Parkhead and Neil Lennon has decided to allow him to shift to the English League Two side to get much-needed game time.

The 20-year-old utility back-four operator, who can play in both full-back positions and centre-half, told the club website: “I am happy the move is now over the line. It is a massive football club, the conversations I have had with the gaffer, the plans are very intriguing and you know straight away how he wants to play.

“I spent a long time with Manchester United, so I know the North West well. I can’t wait for the league to start and, hopefully, I can help the club achieve what they want to achieve.

“I have learnt a lot from my time at United, Celtic and playing international football, and I am looking to use that experience to help me push on at Tranmere Rovers.”

Boss Mike Jackson said: “There is no secret we have needed a full-back in the building. First of all, I would like to thank Celtic for allowing us to sign their player on loan and we are delighted to have him in.

“He is a young lad with an excellent pedigree and we are looking forward to him. He has a lot of ability, he is good on the ball, he will fit into the group well. He fits the way we want to play.

O’Connor was awarded the Republic of Ireland Under-21 Player of the Year honour earlier this month.

It was thought the youngster, who also had a loan spell at Partick Thistle last season, would have a role to play this time around, especially with Jonny Hayes leaving Parkhead for Aberdeen at the end of his contract and Boli Bolingoli unlikely to play again after his selflish misdeeds on his secret trip to Spain.

Greg Taylor is now Lennon’s only receognised left-back although the club have been linkd with former Queen’s Park and Dundee United defender Barry Douglas, who is entering his final year at newly-promoted Leeds United.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v KR Reykjavik tonight – only in your champion CQN.

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