Desmond was behind McGuinness appointment, Lennon says

Neil Lennon revealed that Celtic’s majority shareholder Dermot Desmond was behind the intriguing recruitment of Donegal GAA Football manager Jim McGuinness as performance consultant.

The 39-year-old will remain at Donegal, whom he led to the All-Ireland title this year, but will be at Lennoxtown on a part-time basis to help in the development of the club’s young players.

Hoops boss Lennon, speaking ahead of Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Johnstone at Parkhead, said: “Dermot made me aware of Jim’s position and made the introduction.

“We had a long conversation about both sports and sport in general and there is stuff I can learn from him (Jim) and there is stuff he can learn from us so it is a win-win situation.

“Jim has a skill set that we don’t have here, in terms of the psychological side of the game. It is a huge part of sport.

“He will player profile the younger players, look at their strengths and weaknesses, study their background and their state of mind.

“He will not be able to coach, he is not a qualified football coach but he does know sport and has excelled in his own sport.

“So the cross to football will not be a problem.

“He will predominantly work with younger players but if I feel there is a first-team player that would benefit from Jim’s skill I would have no hesitation in using him.

“It will have no effect on what he is doing at Donegal.

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

Meanwhile, McGuinness has confirmed that he will still be in full control of matters at Donegal.

“I have to be very thankful for Celtic to have given me the chance to stay with Donegal. That flexibility has made it a lot easier and I have to be thankful to the football club and Neil Lennon," he told Highland Radio, adding that the county's training schedule will not be impacted by his day job in Glasgow.

“I’ll be at home for a number of days… there will be no impact on training. It will be the same situation, I have looked at that. There will be no drop off in terms of my own attendance in training.

“It’s going to be great for me, I have the best of both worlds. My day job is in sport and then my passion is Donegal. I’m very thankful.”

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