New Stanley boss James Beattie targeted the young Northern Ireland striker as soon as he was released by Burnley and has fought off some competition to get him to Accrington.
Former England striker Beattie said on completing the deal: "Shay was a player who was on our radar. We’d had good reports about him from coaches and team mates who played with him at Burnley and we did some work on his background.
“I know a lot of people at Burnley were surprised that he was let go; he was in and around the first team there and offered a contract but then the circumstances changed for him.
“He’s a young player with massive potential and we’re delighted to have him at the club. We went to meet him and his father at Manchester airport to discuss the move and it was a big decision for him. I think it helped to have the backing of his family. He’s settled in really well with the other players here.
“He’s a young lad who is willing to listen and learn and I think he’s got that little bit of something about him – a bit of fire in his eyes.”
McCartan made just one first team appearance for Burnley, at Doncaster as a late substitute in April 2012, this after hitting the headlines with crucial goals in our FA Youth Cup run at West Brom and Fulham.
He said: “I got a call from Paul Stephenson about a day before I went away to Turkey for two weeks and he told me the club was interested in me. “Immediately I was really happy because it’s an area that I know and a club I know a bit about.
“Then I found out that the new gaffer was going to be James Beattie, a player who I’d liked growing up as a young lad and a striker as well so I knew he could help me improve. I haven’t played much football in the last year so I can’t wait for the games to come and get that chance to cement my place in the team. If I don’t start hopefully I can come on and do well when I come on.”
Source: Clarets Mad