EMILIO Izaguirre, one of Celtic’s longest-serving players, has left the club after seven years to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Fahya for £1.25m.

The popular Honduran was signed by Neil Lennon in 2010 and only Scott Brown and James Forrest were at Celtic before the left-back joined for a bargain £650,000 from CT Motagua in his homeland.

There will not have been many better buys made in recent times with Izaguirre winning six titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups.

Read more: Ronny Deila split down middle as Celtic face Rosenborg compatriots in Champions League

Izaguirre quickly became a cult hero with the Celtic support and while his team were pipped to the league championship by Rangers in his debut season, he swept the board in the individual awards, winning all three Player of the Year titles.

Now 31, Izaguirre was believed to be ready to agree a new deal at Parkhead despite knowing he would act as under-study to Kieran Tierney who two years ago established himself as first-choice left-back.

However, Al-Fayha, won the Saudi First Division title this year and promotion to the top flight, will have resources to offer the player a small fortune over the next two seasons before he returns to Honduras.

It has been reported that he will join his new team-mates next week which means he may get a chance to take a bow in from of the Celtic support during the Champions League qualifier with Rosenborg.

Izaguirre played 251 times for Celtic but his game-time was always going to be limited after the emergence of Tierney, who was quick to praise his senior team-mate.

Read more: Ronny Deila split down middle as Celtic face Rosenborg compatriots in Champions League

“We don’t dislike each other, we’re actually one of the closest of friends in the changing room,” said Tierney. 

“That says a lot about Emilio because every player wants to play and we’re both working hard for the same place in the team.

“He has definitely been one of the most encouraging of the players. When I was just starting to train with the first team last season he took me under his wing, gave me a lot of tips and worked a lot with me on crossing. All that helped me progress.”