Celtic were treated to a friendly face at Lennoxtown this afternoon – former defender Andreas Hinkel.

The right-back was a member of the Celtic squad between 2008 and 20011. He was signed by Gordon Strachan, and helped the club secure the third of their three-in-a-row run under the former Scotland manager.

He also made over 100 appearances in green-and-white, but had to endure the dark days of Tony Mowbray. Ultimately, the German retired in 2012 after a year with SC Freiburg.

So what was the big German hero doing back at his old training base?

To be honest, he was most likely studying how Brendan Rodgers manages and coaches his team on the training ground.

Hinkel himself has embarked on his studies to become a football manager. He’s currently doing his coaching badges, and has already had some experience so far. During his young coaching career, he’s managed Stuttgart’s youth and B teams.

Shame he isn’t back as a player

That may come as a blow to some who would’ve hoped he was Mikael Lustig’s replacement at right-back. Hinkel certainly was swashbuckling on his game – driving forward and always looking to create down the right. Added to that, he was a no-nonsense and solid defender too.

Rodgers has had an open-door in the past for potential managers to come in and see his sessions. The likes of Paul Hartley, Gary Monk, and Peter Beardsley have all visited Lennoxtown in the past.

Andreas Hinkel was a huge player for Celtic between 2008 and 2011 (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Hinkel himself has actually been a professional manager of a first-team in Germany. Unfortunately, however, it was only for two days where he didn’t even get to manage a game. This was during a period of transition at Stuttgart back in October.

The way things are going with them, it may not be long until he gets another crack at the job short-term either given new manager Markus Weinzerl’s early results.

Celtic supporters will be pleased to see the likes of Hinkel back, however, as Rodgers continues to welcome aspiring managers to Lennoxtown.

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