JACKIE TO FIGHT FOR BHOYS PLACE

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CELTIC defender Jackie McNamara has stated that he will not quit Parkhead and will fight for his first team place.

The 28-year-old Scottish international has started just three times for Martin O'Neill's side this season and has been linked with a move away, but the former Dunfermline man is committed to the SPL champions.

"There's no point in throwing in the towel or demanding transfers because that's not going to achieve anything and I'm not going to give up just because I'm not playing," McNamara told Celtic's official magazine.

"All I can do is keep my head down and work hard.

"I've got the rest of this season and then another two seasons on my contract so I'll just keep plugging away.

"It's not what I had hoped for but this is a big squad and you just have to bide you time.

"I'm waiting for another chance to go on from the start and then, hopefully, keep the position but it has not been easy.

"The manager has stuck, more or less, with the boys who have been winning every other week, apart from changing things a bit to give other guys a rest.

"It's frustrating but there is nothing I can do apart from giving my best in training, looking for a chance and hoping it will come."

McNamara revealed that he would only leave if that was the only option available to him.

"I'd rather stay here but if there came a time that I had to go then it would be probably be because I had no other option," he added. 

"I turned 28 last week so I should be approaching my peak.

"I don't want to let it pass me by but the manager has his job and I've got mine - I hope I'll be in his plans.

"I'm a professional and want to be here. My little girl goes to school next year so the last thing I want to do is move away.

"Martin O'Neill has said all along that he needs a big squad and a lot of players will be getting rested because they'll be tired with all the games coming up and I just need to bide my time."