Former Scotland international defender Stephen McManus has been discussing his new role as Celtic’s youth coach.
McManus hung up his boots in 2018 after a 14 year career, which included spells in England and Scotland. He played 203 games for Celtic in a memorable seven year spell. After graduating from their academy, he quickly became a fan favourite at his boyhood club.
Some memorable goals helped cement the centre-half’s legendary status for the club; including a tap-in, during a famous 2-1 win over then European Champions AC Milan in the Champions League in 2007.
Following seven major honours at Celtic Park, including three Scottish League titles and captaining the side from 2006 under Gordon Strachan’s stewardship, he went on to have mixed spells with Middlesbrough, Bristol City and Motherwell.
Now installed as manager of the Under 18s, McManus believes he can relate to the youngsters coming through the Celtic’s ranks and hopes they will learn from the successful example of his playing days.
“It’s difficult for any young player trying to make a very good living in the game,” McManus told Celtic TV.
“But the grounding I had here was the reason I ended up having a successful playing career, so I’m thankful for everybody who was part of that journey and I’m now trying to give that back to young players today.
“They can relate to you because you’ve not long finished playing, but also they can see what you’ve achieved, and there’s no reason why some of the young talented individuals we’ve got at the club just now can’t make that same journey.
“They just have to look at the first-team players such as Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Kieran Tierney who have come through the Academy and are now top players who could grace any football pitch in Europe.
“My remit will be to try and help the club generate as many top young players as we possibly can. I’m one of the lucky ones who’s been associated with the club that I grew up supporting.
“I was lucky to play here for a minute, never mind over 200 games. I was lucky enough to captain the club, I was lucky enough to work with some really proper people and I was brought up with that mentality and that’s the reason that I had the career I did. So I’m just looking to give something back.”