The Irish defender has moved south of Glasgow in search of regular first team football with the League One side

Celtic defender Eoghan O’Connell has joined Walsall on loan until the end of the season.

O’Connell has made just seven appearances for Brendan Rodgers side this season, but featured in the Champions League, making an appearance against Barcelona.

Ireland unchanged in FIFA ranking update

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international will now look to establish himself at Walsall, who are currently 14th in League One.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started,” O’Connell told the club’s official website. “I heard about the interest last week and it took perhaps a little longer to get done than we would have hoped.

“I spoke to the manager and he was really keen for me to come down, and as soon as I’d spoken to him, I was really excited to come here and be a part of it.”

[embedded content]

Walsall boss Jon Whitney revealed that his side held off competition from clubs in England and Scotland for O’Connell’s signature.

Keane sends good wishes to outgoing President Obama

“He’s highly sought after and we’ve had to fight off some competition from clubs in England and the Scottish Premier League,” Whitney said. 

“He wants to test himself south of the border so we’re delighted to get this one over the line.

“He’s an aggressive defender but he’s also very good on the ball. Technically he’s a player who’s playing beyond his years and he’s very well thought of at Celtic.”

Pending international clearance, O’Connell could be in line for a debut for the Saddlers when they welcome Sheffield United to Bescot Stadium on January 14.