TROY DEENEY has lifted the lid on how close he was to joining Celtic in recent years.

The striker, 33, left Watford during the summer after 11 years at the club, as he joined boyhood heroes Birmingham City.

Throughout the years, the Englishman had several offers to jump ship from Vicarage Road. 

Neil Lennon was keen on bringing him north of the border during his first stint at Hoops boss - but he opted to stay loyal to Watford. 

After the Hornet's relegation to the Championship in 2019 various other clubs swooped in with offers, but again, Deeney stayed faithful and helped get the side back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

He told The Athletic: “Villa were interested, Celtic were interested; over the years, you’ve had Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal, but we got there.”

Upon the interest from Aston Villa, the striker revealed how the Midlands club told him he'd have to cover-up his Birmingham tattoo.

He said: “The question was, ‘Would I be willing to remove it or cover it?’, to which I said, ‘no’, but, I tell a lie, that was the second time they asked.

“The first time they asked, I said, ‘How much are you willing to pay me?

“I wasn’t going to mention it, because me and the Villa fans don’t get on too well.”

In the end Deeney, believes the only place for him to end up was back in his home town.

However, he admits life back in the Championship has taken some getting used to.

On life at Birmingham, he added: “I know I’m back home (in the city of his birth, playing for his boyhood club), but the day to day life is really strange.

“I was spoilt at Watford. The training ground was lovely, the people were lovely and couldn’t do enough for you; you go to Birmingham and it’s like how Watford was 11 years ago.

“I wouldn’t say it’s (the club) broke but it’s very much living within its means. If you’re always used to flying first class it becomes your normal, then if you have to start travelling in economy – which is fine, don’t get me wrong – it becomes a case of, ‘Why are we doing this?’, or, ‘Why aren’t we doing that?’

“It’s just it’s new, it’s different and it’s fun by the way. The mindset’s different too. Now you’re trying to create a mentality – not just me, the manager and the people there – that you need to win games, two or three on the bounce; if you lose two or three, that’s not good enough.”