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McGuinness on brink of move to Celtic

DONEGAL'S loss could be Celtic's gain as Jim McGuinness' future as Donegal football boss remains uncertain after the Glenties man had talks with Celtic officials.

McGuinness was present in Parkhead for Wednesday's sensational 2-1 over Barcelona in the Champions League as the Glasgow club try to cement his position as a part-time performance coach (three days a week).

The role is said to entail this year's All-Ireland SFC winning boss McGuinness utilising his background in sports psychology to work in Celtic's academy with the club's under-age players.

However, reports that the job would come with a salary of €150,000 per annum are believed to be very wide of the mark.

If the position is part-time it could leave the possibility for McGuinness, who is halfway through a four-year term, to continue to manage Donegal.

Aodh Mairtin Ó Fearraigh, the Donegal County Board secretary, said: "As far as we're concerned, Jim McGuinness is still the manager of the Donegal senior team."

Thirty-nine-year-old McGuinness holds an MSc in Sport Psychology from John Moore's University, Liverpool; an Honours Degree in Sport, Exercise and Leisure from UUJ, and a Higher Cert in Health and Leisure Studies from Tralee IT where he was lectured by former Ballymun Kickhams, Cavan, Louth, Dublin minor and junior manager Val Andrews.

McGuinness admitted last month he would be open to offers from other sporting outfits, having previously worked with Airtricity League clubs Derry City and Finn Harps, as well as Limavady United in the Irish League.

"My background is in sports science and in psychology, which are transferable across all sports," he said. "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."

McGuinness' fellow Donegal man and Celtic legend, Packie Bonner believes the Glenties man's future lies with the Celts. "I think it's on," Bonner said: "I think it's going to happen.

"It's all up probably to Jim McGuinness and whether he wants to leave and go over there to work and whether he can do it part-time - a job he can go over there and when the Donegal games come up he can still keep that role. What an opportunity for him in many ways, to see can he transfer what he has and the fitness and the psychology bit into a professional soccer club.

"It would be a great experience to see does it work and my advice would be for him to go for it. He can always come back and get a job back in Gaelic football. It would be special for him," he added.