McGuinness takes up new coaching job in Beijing
All-Ireland-winning manager Jim McGuinness has become a surprising member of the footballing exodus to the big-spending Chinese Super League.
McGuinness has left his backroom role at Celtic to become assistant manager to former Bayern Leverkusen boss Roger Schmidt at Beijing Sinobo Guoan.
He has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with a club that won the league in 2009 but have been on the look-out for a new boss since showing Spaniard Jose Gonzalez the door. They sit seventh in the table.
It's an interesting step in the Donegal man's attempts to establish himself in professional football. McGuinness took up a role with Celtic in 2012 with Dermot Desmond a driving force in his appointment.
He was initially hired as a performance consultant with the club's youth sides and Ronny Deila later gave him an opportunity to work with the first team.
But he has not been as prominent under Brendan Rodgers and has most recently been working as a coach with the Hoops' U-20 side after taking his coaching badges.
McGuinness met Schmidt in Leverkusen two years ago and they struck up a rapport and they met again in Dublin earlier this summer.
"I feel that we think similarly and share core principles," McGuinness told 'The Irish Times'. The 44-year-old was shocked to receive a call from Schmidt with the offer yet he has indicated that he would be keen to return to Celtic at some stage in the future.
"It's a level up for me and a great honour to be asked," he said. "Roger is a really prestigious European coach and just to be part of his management team is a great privilege. I also feel that it's great timing in terms of taking the next step forward in my own coaching career.
"In terms of Celtic, every decision that was made was with their knowledge. Dermot Desmond, in particular, was implicit in any decision made. And I'd like to think that the umbilical cord won't be cut. Everyone in the club has been hugely supportive and hopefully I will return there someday as a better coach."