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Irish caught up in Celtic flurry

IT'S all about Celtic! Parkhead supremo Tony Mowbray stands at the centre of a web of transfer intrigue which will send ripples through the Republic of Ireland squad by the time the January window closes.

Mowbray is currently presiding over the fate of no fewer than a half dozen Irishmen and by the time he's finished, the green contingent at Paradise is likely to be considerably diluted.

On the way in this week is Sean St Ledger, despite the fact that Preston have told Celtic to increase their initial offer of £2m or forget about a deal.

"Celtic's offer was way below our valuation for the player. There's no way we'd accept anything near the figure put to us. We are not being greedy," said Preston chairman Derek Shaw

Mowbray is determined to put his mark on Celtic, starting in defence and wants to pair St Ledger with new Bhoy Jos Hooived, who completed his move from AIK Stockholm for £1.9m last night.

That will not come as good news for Darren O'Dea, the subject of a loan bid from promotion-chasing Dundee.

Celtic have turned down manager Jocky Scott's offer and the young Irish defender will look to the Championship for a temporary arrangement until the end of the season.

Another green Bhoy also set for a short-term loan move is Willo Flood, who travelled to Middlesbrough today to discuss personal terms with ex-Celtic boss Gordon Strachan.

Mowbray's biggest bit of Irish business could yet involve Aiden McGeady -- if Birmingham return with a new offer after Alex McLeish's initial feint was rebuffed by Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell late last week.

Celtic have priced McGeady at £11m and if Mowbray banks that kind of cash, he might be tempted to put a call in to Robbie Keane and his agent.

Spurs boss Harry Rednapp ruled out any move for Keane at the weekend unless a "silly offer" is made but less is known about the Irish captain's intentions.