Monday 22 January 2018

Karl Lacey: Jim McGuinness can go right to the top of soccer management

Jim McGuinness celebrates the 2012 All-Ireland Final victory over Mayo with Karl Lacey
Jim McGuinness celebrates the 2012 All-Ireland Final victory over Mayo with Karl Lacey

There are few if any elite Gaelic football bosses who have scaled the managerial heights in a different sport - but Jim McGuinness could be the exception.

So says Karl Lacey, who believes his former Donegal manager could climb all the way in soccer.

McGuinness was first appointed by Glasgow Celtic as a performance consultant in late 2012, fresh from lifting Sam Maguire, and he juggled this role with his brief as Donegal manager for the next two seasons.

After four eventful campaigns, he quit Donegal in the wake of last year's All-Ireland final defeat. A highly respected sports psychologist, he has moved on from working with Celtic's development squad to their first team ... but Lacey wouldn't be surprised if he goes even further in the game.

"Jim will go to the top if he really wanted to," the Donegal centre-back predicts.


"He's obviously thinking about management or coaching in the soccer club, as he's doing his badges through the FAI.

"I never had the conversation with him about it. But I see he was in Saracens (rugby club) there as well, so he's opened huge doors for himself. He's a big sporting personality in Ireland. He's got the CV, he's had the success. Jim's not my focus now for the summer time - hopefully we'll catch up with him and we're always good friends."

Lacey wasn't surprised when McGuinness's valedictory text dropped last October. "I was kind of waiting for it. I'll be honest - I was hoping it wasn't going to come," he recalls.

"What Jim did with us in the four years was incredible. But as a player, you've got to move on. It's in the past now. What Rory (Gallagher) did with Jim in the three years out of four was massive as well and I don't think he got the credit that he deserved."


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