FORMER Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has spoken of a possible link between Donegal manager Jim McGuinness and a new coaching role at Glasgow Celtic.
The Lifford man was speaking about his pride in Donegal’s win over Mayo last Sunday in the All-Ireland final.
And he says Glenties man Jim could easily transfer his skills to soccer across the water.
“There’s a story doing the rounds back home in Donegal that Jim McGuinness could join the coaching staff at Glasgow Celtic,” said Shay from England where he has been proudly flying the Donegal flag.
“That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
“I know it’s probably an Irish thing to suggest that Jim will follow his All-Ireland success with Donegal by helping Celtic to achieve their Champions League dream.
“It certainly helped the story that Bhoys boss Neil Lennon was in Croke Park last Sunday for Donegal’s sweet win and all the words he said about Jim on RTÉ beforehand were very complimentary.”
During that interview Lennon – a former Armagh GAA Minor – revealed that he had given McGuinness a tour of Celtic’s training facilities.
There are also reports that Jim has been offered coaching roles at several other British clubs.
Said Given: “Many of the players were there for previous Donegal managers but Jim has added something special to the mix that could apply just as easily to Celtic as it does to a Gaelic football team.
“I know from talking to people involved with the camp that he is a great man for psychology and preparation.
“Jim has brought a scientific approach to the game and no stone was left unturned last weekend.
“That’s a huge element of professional sport now as we all know in the Premier League.
“And it is something that is going to stand to Donegal for many years to come thanks to Jim McGuinness.”
Shay said he was enormously proud of the Donegal team for bringing Sam home for the first time in 20 years.
And he said he was struck by the homecoming to Donegal Town which he had watched via the internet.
“It was like Reeling in the Years as 20 years ago I was one of those kids in the Diamond in Donegal waiting for the team to come home with Sam. This time I was just as excited. And when Jim stood up to address the people, the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck many miles away in England,” said the Aston Villa man.
“If he can inspire a crowd like that from a stage in Donegal town, I can only imagine what he must be like in the dressing-room.
“The good thing for Donegal is that Jim is likely to be around for several years to come — unless Neil Lennon poaches him — and the players are young enough to dominate Gaelic football for the foreseeable future as well.
“What was also enlightening last Sunday was being able to sit back and enjoy the game of Gaelic football for what it is — an honest sport where men give and take the hard knocks and get on with it.”