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McStay departs Celtic again but this time it is for good

CELTIC last night parted company with reserve-team coach Willie McStay.

The 48-year-old, recently linked with the St Mirren job, is a high-profile casualty of Neil Lennon’s backroom reshuffle, with Garry Parker tipped to replace him at Parkhead.

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Danny McGrain, who took charge of the Celtic reserves in tandem with McStay, remains on the coaching staff.

McStay, who had a nine-month spell in charge of Hungarian side Ujpest Dosza last season, played for Celtic in the 1980s and had been a coach at the club since 1994, working with the Under-19 and reserve sides. During that time, the club regularly won silverware at both levels and McStay credited with nurturing the likes of Aiden McGeady, Shaun Maloney, John Kennedy and Stephen McManus through the ranks.

He left Celtic last July to take over at Ujpest but he cut short a successful tenure after the Hungarians suffered major financial troubles. McStay was immediately restored to the Celtic staff but will play no part in the Lennon era as the new manager begins to put his own stamp on the club.

That task continues on the field too, but the new manager was dealt a blow last night when Joe Ledley, one of his targets, held talks with Stoke City.

The 23-year-old Cardiff City and Wales midfielder could move north without a fee but, despite any switch within England commanding compensation, Stoke – who had bids of £5m and £6m both rejected in 2008 – have emerged as his most likely destination.

The arrival of Cha Du-ri, the South Korea internationalist, seems more likely with talks continuing yesterday but any decision on Sol Campbell’s potential signing will not be taken until next month. The 35-year-old defender, who is out of contract at Arsenal, will wait until he returns from his honeymoon before he makes his decision after discussions at Celtic Park and Lennoxtown on Tuesday.

“I have to talk to Arsenal as well because they are still at the table,” admitted Campbell. “I have to talk to everybody but the main thing for me right now is my wedding and honeymoon. I don’t think I’ll be committing myself to any club until after that.”

Campbell’s arrival would free Stephen McManus to move to Middlesbrough on a permanent deal, with Gordon Strachan adamant that a deal will be struck.

The centre-back enjoyed a successful loan spell with the Championship side last season and although they have yet to agree a fee with the Parkhead club for the player, Strachan was bullish about the prospect of adding the defender to his Riverside squad.

“Stephen wants to be here and we want him to be here,” the former Celtic manager said. “We will make it happen one way or another. But I can’t say when it will happen.”

One player definitely on the way out of Celtic Park is Koki Mizuno, who will today sign for Kashiwa Reysol.

The Japanese midfielder has agreed a two-year deal with the J-League second division outfit having failed to make any impact last season under either Tony Mowbray or Neil Lennon, making his last first-team appearance in August.

The 24-year-old, signed from JEF United by Strachan three years ago, has made just 12 league and cup starts during that time.

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