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Celtic could be set to renew their interest in Paddy McNair one year after Neil Lennon expressed his admiration for the £5 million Middlesbrough midfielder, according to 90Min.

With Lennon’s transfer budget slashed by the loss of gate receipts during a financial crisis of unprecedented proportions, signing this most versatile of footballers would kill a whole aviary with one stone.

McNair’s best performances at Middlesbrough have come in a box-to-box central midfield role.

7 Footballers With 0 Assists This Season

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But the one-time Manchester United prospect is the picture of versatility, capable of providing cover at full-back or at the heart of a paper-thin defence.

Lennon preferred a three-man back line in the second half of 2019/20 but has been forced to re-introduce the 4-2-3-1 formation in recent weeks, due largely to the lack of centre-half options at his disposal.

McNair, however, made his breakthrough at Old Trafford in Louis Van Gaal’s 3-5-2.

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90Min suggests that the Republic of Ireland international, who joined Boro from north east neighbours Sunderland in a £5 million deal two years ago, has been lined up as an alternative in case Celtic miss out on their top target, Crystal Palace’s James McCarthy.

“There’s an interest there, yeah,” Lennon told the Scottish Sun last summer when asked about McNair.

Interestingly, the 25-year-old has been in and out of Middlesbrough’s XI since veteran Neil Warnock took over in June, starting five out of the club’s last eight Championship fixtures.

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In other news, Report: Club hopeful of signing Tottenham Hotspur player, talks have started