James McCarthy has spoken the time Celtic opted to reject the 14-year-old star and how it proved to be the making of the Premier League midfielder.
Celtic may have opted against taking a chance on James McCarthy but the Everton and Ireland midfielder believes his rejection by the Bhoys ultimately paved the way for him to become a Premier League star.
The Toffees youngster has garnered praise from all corners since moving to Goodison Park from Wigan last September in a deal worth £13 million but it could have all been so different if the Scottish Premiership champions had opted to give the midfielder a chance.
Celtic instead rejected the opportunity to sign the then-14-year-old player, though McCarthy appears to hold no grudges, instead pointing to the moment as a catalyst for his rise to the top.
After the Hoops opted against bringing the Toffees man to the club, the 23-year-old opted to stay in Scotland and moved to Hamilton, where he eventually caught the attention of the Latics with the Greater Manchester club shelling out just under £1.2 million to bring him to the DW Stadium.
"I never thought it at the time – it was a bad night when they told me they had enough players – but what happened at Celtic was a blessing in disguise," he told the Irish Independent.
"Celtic were my boyhood club and I dreamed of playing for them but I went to Hamilton and took a different route and I don’t regret the way it’s turned out for me for club and country."
Now set to star for Everton in the Merseyside Derby, while Celtic endure a difficult spell under new manager Ronny Deila, the midfielder could one day turnout for the Bhoys but for now is enjoying life on Merseyside.
That has not stopped the rumour-mongers from linking the player with several other Premier League sides, however, amid reported interest from Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City.
But with Roberto Martinez in no mood to even discuss the possibility of allowing one his Everton’s brightest young stars to leave, the Premier League trio could be watching BT Sport this Saturday with more than just a little hint of envy.