Tranmere confirmed the permanent signing of Ireland international Lee O'Connor on Tuesday morning. The 21-year-old spent last season, and most of this season, on loan from Celtic at the League Two club.
The Waterford man, who has played once for Ireland at senior level, left Manchester United for Celtic in September 2019. However, he endured a frustrating time at the Scottish club, and never made a senior competitive appearance.
"It was something I’ve wanted to do for a while as I’ve loved my time here so far," O'Connor said about the move to Tranmere.
"From the first day I've come, I've really enjoyed it. Not just am I enjoying it personally, but with football, I think I'm developing really well. I just want to continue that.
"In the grand scheme of things, it was [an easy decision to leave Celtic]. I felt this was the best thing for me, the best thing for my career. On that point, it probably was an easy decision.
"The football development, I think I'm developing well here. To play your best football, you have to be happy as well, and I'm happy here."
Lee O'Connor leaves Celtic for Tranmere
— Tranmere Rovers FC (@TranmereRovers) January 25, 2022
Tranmere are currently second in League Two, seven points behind leaders Forest Green. O'Connor has become an important player in their push for promotion, being deployed in both midfield and defence.
"I came quite late, didn't have the best of pre-seasons," said O'Connor, who joined Tranmere on loan at the end of August.
"It took me a while to get up to speed. The team's doing well now. We're a very closeknit group. It's great to be a part of, and I'm happy to be staying.
"I came from U23s football, reserve football. There's a lot to get used to. Every game, I'm understanding the game a bit more. The man's game, it's a lot different.
"Everyone says it to you when you come, that it's going to be different but I don't think you can tell someone what the difference is; it's just when you get into the games, you realise it. I think I'm getting a grasp of it."
Tranmere manager Micky Mellon added: "We’re really pleased to sign Lee permanently.
"It’s really important that we have our own players when possible and everyone understands that. We’re really appreciative of our loan players but we’d always like to have players of Lee’s quality as our own player.
"We can continue to work with him, he knows where his future is going to be and we’ve got ourselves a really good midfielder/right back for the foreseeable future.
"I’m sure this will be a boost for everyone at the Club and all of the supporters."