McGuinness: No Celtic offer

All-Ireland-winning Donegal boss Jim McGuinness insists he has not been approached by either Celtic or Liverpool but revealed he spent time with the Glasgow club this summer.

McGuinness: No Celtic offer

Speculation has been rife about the future of McGuinness, whose background is in sports science and psychology, with claims he had been offered positions with both cross channel clubs.

The Liverpool link was quickly quashed over the weekend and yesterday McGuinness moved to distance himself from a possible move to the Scottish Premier League giants.

McGuinness, who admits to always being a Celtic supporter, was invited to Celtic Park in August for the Champions League qualifier against Swedish side Helsingborg IF and also spent time at the club’s Lennoxtown training facility.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who played Gaelic football as a county minor in his native Armagh, had been in touch with McGuinness as Donegal’s championship season was only taking shape.

Lennon, in turn, was a spectator at Croke Park as Donegal defeated Mayo 2-11 to 0-13 in the All-Ireland final and was at the victorious team’s banquet that night.

“Nobody has approached me,” McGuinness told Highland Radio’s Shaun Doherty Show yesterday.

“I was invited over to Celtic a number of weeks ago for a Champions League match. It was a great experience to go over and see it. The day before the game, I was invited over to the training ground for a look.

“I met everyone over there and they have some set-up with fantastic people, from recruitment, talent identification, strength and conditioning and just the coaches themselves and the facilities.

“It was something I took with open arms when I was asked if I wanted to go over. It was something I enjoyed. From my own point of view, I come from sports science background so it was great to see.

“He showed me a lot of things in terms of how they operate. They have a very sophisticated system in relation to how they identify players, how they recruit and also how they analyse and evaluate games.

“If things work out with Donegal, hopefully we might be able to tap into some of that in the future.”

The transformation of Donegal’s footballing fortunes in just 20 months with McGuinness in charge is of biblical proportion.

Before his appointment, Donegal were the first team eliminated from the championship in 2010 and now, with the same panel of players barring the promoting of Patrick McBrearty to the seniors, Sam Maguire is nestling in the hills.

The word has spread and 39-year-old McGuinness admits he would have to consider any offer that came his way.

“If a professional football team, or any professional sporting organisation came in and said they were interested in talking about work, it is obviously something that I’d have to consider. I’m a young man with a young family and three kids so it’s something that I’d have to consider.

“There have been a few things since the final from a consultancy point of view, with football teams and different sports that want work done with them. That happens on an ongoing basis anyway. I did more of that before I took the Donegal job.

“My background is in sports science and in psychology, which are transferable across all sports. I have trained Finn Harps for a year, I trained Limavady United for a year, worked with Derry City. I’ve worked with golfers, Gaelic footballers, male, female and young people across the spectrum.

“It wouldn’t scare me,” McGuinness added. “If something came up, I would have to discuss it with my wife but Donegal is where I’m from and Donegal is my love and passion.

“It would have to be something that I would have to look at very seriously if there was going to be anything. That isn’t the case at the moment and hasn’t been the case. Who knows what the future holds?”

Since getting the county job, McGuinness has got his players to commit and focus. An evolving system and progress through the championship let them believe and their dream of winning an All-Ireland was achieved. But that doesn’t mean it’s now the end of the road for the team, or manager.

“It gets better if you can win a second one and a third one,” McGuinness added.

“My goal is to achieve as much as I can with the boys in the timeframe we’re operating in.”

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