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Saturday 3 December 2016

Bhoy Eoghan set to go out on loan

Eoghan O’Connell
Eoghan O’Connell

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will consider sending Ireland U21 cap Eoghan O'Connell out on loan so he can gain first-team experience.

The defender, who spent the first half of 2016 on loan to hometown club Cork City, made seven appearances for the Bhoys earlier in the season, including a run off the bench in their Champions League defeat to Barcelona, but has not played for two months, following the return from injury of Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko.

Rodgers is keen to ensure the 21-year-old continues to develop and Kilmarnock are believed to be interested in taking him to Rugby Park.

Rodgers - who faces Barcelona at Parkhead on Wednesday - said: "We have had a couple of enquiries for Eoghan in terms of a loan. I think he's a young player that needs to play games.

"There's a few clubs that are interested in him so we will see.

"He did very well in pre-season but the team has changed and he is not getting so much game time. So if he can get out on loan that will give him the game time he needs to develop."

Dedryck Boyata was preferred to O'Connell at Rugby Park on Friday night as the Belgian made his first appearance under Rodgers with Kolo Toure and Simunovic not risked as they work their way back from injury.

The Belgian helped Celtic keep a seventh consecutive domestic clean sheet as they won 1-0 but Rodgers noted some slackness in his passing.

"I thought he did well," the Celtic manager said. "He had two mistakes in the first half. I said to him it's one of the areas he needs to brush up on his game. But in the main he was very good.

"The issues came when we were building play. In that pitch, if you're half an inch out with your pass the ball flies away from you. When we give it away in our half, it's a problem.

"But in the main I thought he defended well, the first full game for the first team for a long time. That's a big credit to him because he has been working and fighting away. It's a demonstration of how hard he is working in training."

Meanwhile, Dublin pair Adam Rooney and Jonny Hayes played a part as Aberdeen won 3-1 away to Richie Foran's Inverness Caledonian Thistle to stay in second place behind Celtic.

Rooney scored one goal and Hayes contributed to another in the win. "I was delighted with the way we started but it was a poor goal to lose from our point of view," said manager Derek McInnes.

"The response of the players was excellent, though, the free-kick was quality from Kenny McLean and then the penalty kick from Jonny Hayes' good play."

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