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Celtic job won’t impinge on my role with Donegal – McGuinness

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Jim McGuinness has insisted that his role as performance consultant with Celtic won't impinge on his duties as Donegal manager as they attempt to retain the All-Ireland football title next year.

He will spend a few days each week in Glasgow working mainly with Celtic's development squad but insists that his commitment to Donegal won't be diluted in any way.

"There will be no impact in terms of the training last year compared to this year. There will be no drop-off in terms of my attendance at training and the input to the team," said McGuinness after his appointment was officially announced.

His role with Celtic will be primarily to work on the mental side of the game with the development squad and younger members of the senior squad, but he could also be dealing with first-team players.

"If I feel there's a first-team player that might benefit from Jim's skills, I would have no hesitation in using him. Jim is an excellent man, an intelligent man. He's very successful in his own sport and we're delighted to have him here," said Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

Celtic's majority shareholder Dermot Desmond is understood to have made the initial contact between McGuinness and Armagh man Lennon.

McGuinness will not be allowed to coach at Celtic as he doesn't hold the necessary qualifications, although it's likely that his views will be sought on an informal basis

"We had a long conversation about both sports, and sport in general, and there is stuff I can learn from him and stuff that he can learn from us, so it's a win-win situation," said Lennon.

"He will probably initially come in for two days per week and we will take it from there."

Talk of "taking it from there" will worry Donegal supporters, who regard McGuinness as the Messiah after two championships campaigns where the county won their second All-Ireland title, plus back-to-back Ulster crowns for the first time.

However, McGuinness moved quickly to assure the Donegal public that he will be as committed as ever next year.

"We have been on a great journey for the past two years. I think the world of them (the players). It would have been very difficult to walk away. I'm thankful to Celtic for giving me the opportunity to combine the roles.

"They have been very fair to me in terms of my role with Donegal and participation in all the training sessions. That flexibility made the decision a lot easier," he said.

McGuinness faces a hectic schedule, commuting from Donegal to Glasgow -- possibly a few times each week -- while combining the demands of running a squad defending the All-Ireland tile with working for the first time in a top professional soccer club.

However, he regards it as a major opportunity which he intends to exploit to the maximum.

"Working in a professional environment a few days a week is going to be very good for me in terms of the skills that I'll learn.

"I'm looking forward to developing my own learning while I'm doing the job (with Celtic) and hopefully bring those skills back to Donegal," said McGuinness.

Irish Independent