Midfielder with Celtic, Manchester United and Republic of Ireland

Born: February 13, 1981;

Died: February 9, 2018

LIAM Miller, who has died of cancer aged 36, was an Irish footballer who achieved his boyhood ambition of playing for Celtic before joining Manchester United. He was also capped for the Republic of Ireland 21 times and scored for his country in a win against Sweden in 2006.

Miller had always dreamed of playing for Celtic as he grew up in the village of Ovens in Country Cork, partly because his father was a Scotsman from Motherwell and was a fan of the club. Initially, the young Liam played both Gaelic football and soccer but it was the latter that was his real passion.

He joined Celtic when he was 15 and made his debut in May 2000 as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 win over Dundee United. He was later loaned to Aarhus in Denmark before breaking in to the first team in the 2003-2004 season under Martin O'Neill.

O'Neill recalls Miller as a player who made a strong impression on Celtic. "I remember the impact that Liam had in a big Champions League match against Lyon," said O'Neill. "We were pressing strongly and trying to find the breakthrough when Liam scored a magical goal that gave us momentum to win the game.

"At the end of that season, Liam moved on to Manchester United but had already made a strong mark at Celtic Park and the players were extremely disappointed to see him go."

Miller had accepted an offer in 2004 from Alex Ferguson's Manchester United, where he stayed for a two-year spell, playing with David Beckham and Wayne Rooney. Miller himself said playing for Manchester United on top of Celtic was something he could never have imagined as a young player. "I dreamed of playing for Manchester United and I got that opportunity as well," he said. "I don't know how many other people can say they played for their two childhood clubs, or even one childhood club."

Miller also had success with his national side, winning the first of his 21 caps with the Republic of Ireland in a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road. However, he struggled to establish himself in United's central midfield and he had a spell on loan to Leeds in 2005.

The following year, he joined Sunderland, where he spent three years, before moving to QPR in January 2009 only to be released the following May.

Miller's next move was a return to Scotland, where he signed for Hibernian. He played for Hibs for two seasons before moving to Australia where he played for Perth Glory and then back to Cork, which he joined in 2015.

At the time of his death, Miller was signed to Wilmington Hammerheads in the United States.

Reports emerged in November that Miller had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was receiving treatment in the US.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said Miller had lived the Irish dream of playing for the Parkhead club. He said: "The dream of lots of Irish boys is to come across and play for Celtic and he did that and had a fantastic career."

Liam Miller is survived by his wife Clare and his three children Kory, Leo and Belle.