'I WAS BROKEN' Football ace Ciaran McKenna, 20, falsely accused of raping a student at top u
A FOOTBALL wonderkid who was falsely accused of rape at a top US university has said the two-year ordeal left him "broken".
Ciaran McKenna from Uddingston, near Glasgow, turned down a professional contract with Celtic for a £200,000 scholarship at Duke University in the US three years ago.
But on Valentines Day 2016, just six months into his new life, a fellow student accused him of forcibly taking her virginity.
McKenna, who said he became popular quickly because of his accent and the fact he played for Celtic, went home with the girl after meeting at a nightclub in November 2015.
Once they got back to his room, he is reported to have put on a condom before they engaged in penetrative and oral sex.
His fellow student is understood to have asked for his number a week later but he declined, saying he heard she was too "clingy".
Three months later, she claimed she told him that she did not want to have sex because she was a virgin - and told him "no" during intercourse.
There was not enough evidence for a criminal case so the school, whose reputation had already been tarnished by sexual assault allegations, still put him on trial.
He was acquitted at first, only to be tried again, found guilty and excluded from the North Carolina institution for two years.
The 6ft 4in starlet, who was studying political science and business at the university, decided to take legal action against Duke.
That lawsuit was finally settled out of court last month, with the school reportedly paying McKenna a six-figure compensation package.
Once self-confident and centred, the 20-year-old was so worn down by the false accusations that he now abstains from sex entirely.
He told the Times: "Growing up, I was always successful because I was always confident, very composed and could handle the pressure... The mental aspect was always a strong point.
"But what was happening off the field meant that on the field I was pretty much broken and was second-guessing everything."
McKenna said he plans to return home to Scotland and reignite his career with Celtic when he graduates in December.
For nine years in the Hoops youth ranks, the boyhood supporter thought about little else other than landing that first professional deal.
Back in January 2017, the lad told the Scottish Sun he turned down a contract from Celtic because he did not like the idea of only going to school one day a week.
He added: "In fifth year you’d go full-time and only go to school one day a week, with the option of choosing to do one Higher exam.
"At the time I felt like I wanted to put my education first, because one solitary qualification wouldn’t help that much if my football career didn’t go to plan.
"I stayed on and did four in the end, getting straight As thankfully, whilst going in full-time one day a week.
"A few schools out in America were interested and offered to fly me out, but as soon as I visited Duke my mind was made up."