Jim McGuinness doesn’t anticipate much change to his position at Celtic, now former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has taken charge as manager.
McGuinness was recruited by the Glasgow giants initially on a part-time basis in November 2012 as a performance consultant with the club’s youth teams, two months after leading Donegal to the All- Ireland SFC title,
The departure of Neil Lennon and arrival of Norwegian Ronnie Deila saw McGuinness’s influence extend to the first team and, speaking at the launch of Sky Sports’ GAA championship coverage yesterday, he indicated he’d like that to continue.
“A lot of systems and processes are in place at the club and people fill those roles,” said McGuinness, speaking before comfirmation of Rodgers’ appointment. “The manager comes in and he will always decide that he wants to take x, y, or z with him.
“It depends on what the new manager wants.
“But probably 80% of the staff will always be there. That’s the way it works.
“Sports science predominantly won’t change. The way we look at developing our young players won’t change.
“There might be different bits and pieces, but nothing major.”
McGuinness has never ruled out a return to Gaelic football management, having led Donegal to three Ulster titles and an All-Ireland between 2011 and 2014.
He says his role as Sky Sports pundit and newspaper columnist “fills a void” and keeps him tuned in to the fluctuating trends and form of all the top teams but his future remains outside Ireland.
Revealing he recently passed his Uefa ‘B’ Licence, his permanent role as performance consultant now also includes a coaching role with the Celtic Under-20s.
“I’ve also been meeting first team players when required on a one-to-one, pretty much straddling the two since Christmas.
“I’ve started my coaching badges, I’m on that journey and the ‘20s’ are giving me that experience.
“I got confirmation that I passed the Uefa ‘B’ so you coach with that for a year and the next stage then is the ‘A’ badge. “The thing for me down the road is to see where it takes me.
“It’s a different culture, a different sport and a different environment, so it’s about your own adaptation.”
As the only manager in Gaelic football to have beaten Jim Gavin’s Dublin team in championship combat, in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final, McGuinness believes the chasing pack are not without hope of stopping the champions.
The absence of regular full-back Rory O’Carroll, he believes, leaves a chink that could be exploited should the opposition go with two big men inside in the full-forward line.
“A question was asked of Dublin in 2014. They came back in 2015 and answered that question.
“The answer was their centre-back (Cian O’Sullivan) who filled a void for me.
“Other teams have to look at that and say ‘they’ve made that shift, how do we make a shift to beat that?’
“If you have two big men in there, then Philly McMahon is picking up one of them and possibly Michael Fitzsimons the other. It’s a different dynamic and means the aerial threat is real.
“There are only a couple of teams with the capacity to have quality inside and size inside who can ask that question.
“Mayo, Kerry, I don’t think Tyrone could because of the size situation, Monaghan possibly.”
TV pundit Joe Brolly claimed that McGuinness was “taking the piss” by recently referring to Donegal as a potential threat to Dublin.
McGuinness was given air-time for a right of reply but chose his words carefully.
“In fairness to Joe, he got four good years out of me as a manager. Surely to God he should leave me alone as a pundit.”
Tyrone’s first All-Ireland winning captain Peter Canavan, who again lines up on a Sky Sports high stool this summer, described Derry as “a dangerous animal” ahead of Tyrone’s visit to Celtic Park on Sunday.
“Tyrone’s unbeaten record this season stems from beating Division 2 teams so I don’t think Tyrone folk are getting carried away with winning that league and having a good finish to last year,” he said.
“We’re still very wary and aware of what it means going to Celtic Park to play Derry in the championship. And aren’t Derry in a prime position, having been beaten four times by Tyrone this season?
“Regardless of how the rest of the year pans out, their summer would be made if they could get a result on Sunday.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved