Tue, Oct

Dwight Yorke has paid handsome tribute to Celtic after his decision to snub the Glasgow giants for Birmingham.

The striker was all set to clinch a move to Parkhead earlier in the week, before he heard of Birmingham's interest just hours before the deadline on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old has revealed he was actually sat in Celtic boardroom when he completed the formalities of his move to St Andrews, and admits turning down The Bhoys was the hardest decision of his footballing career.

"I have to say manager Martin O'Neill and the board at Celtic are different class," he told The Sun.

"They did everything to get me and I was honestly committed to going there. A club that size is hard to turn down.

"But when Birmingham came calling just before I was going to sign I was suddenly torn.

"I was being offered two more years in the Premiership, where I had played all my football life, and I just could not resist it.

"In those instances you have to follow your gut instinct and that's what I did.

"But I want to thank Celtic for the businesslike way they conducted everything and I'm extremely sorry if I caused them any problems.

"Ultimately, it came down to my desire to play in the Premier League.

"As I said to the Celtic directors it was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life."

Yorke departed Ewood Park after an ultimately unhappy two-year spell, but insists he holds no grudges towards Blackburn boss Graeme Souness with whom he had several run-ins.

The ex-Aston Villa star claims he is now fully focused on finishing his career in style with The Villains' cross-town rivals.

"Yes, I am glad to put that all (Blackburn) behind me," he continued. "I don't want to start slagging anybody off, but suffice to say that myself and the manager did not always get on.

"Now I just want to play football again and get a smile back on my face and I believe I can do that at Birmingham.

"I need the Birmingham fans to know I am committed to their club now.

"I have been given two years by Steve Bruce to hopefully finish my career off in style - and that means scoring goals for Birmingham. I am joining a club that is on the up and up.

"They always had top-quality crowds but they are now also attracting top-quality players.

"I think it is one of the most exciting clubs to join right now."