Damien Duff's class Celtic remark at Shelbourne unveiling

By David Walton

November 3, 2021

Damien Duff referred back to his spell as a Celtic first-team coach and believes he would be “welcomed back with option arms” if he returned tomorrow.

The Republic of Ireland icon has today been unveiled as the new manager of League of Ireland outfit Shelbourne. It’s Duff’s first ever managerial gig after a prolonged period of experience-building elsewhere.

His coaching journey took him to Celtic Park back in 2019 when he became a reserve coach under Brendan Rodgers. After the Northern Irishman’s departure, he was promoted to first-team coach under Neil Lennon. Fans were taken to him due to his passion for the club and his ability to help keep the ship stable after Rodgers left.

Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

And as he took up his new role with Shelbourne, he reflected on that spell as he revealed he still keeps in touch with some of the players.

As quoted by the Irish Independent, Duff said: “I don’t know how you prove longevity or commitment to a club. I was with Shamrock Rovers as a player. I dedicated my life to it for 18 months to kids with Shamrock Rovers. I got stick for training at 6am in the morning and bringing them back out at 6pm at night. I’d like to think they were the best days of those kids’ careers.

“I went to Celtic, I had an amazing time there, if I go back there tomorrow, I’d be welcomed back with open arms. When your wife and kids are back home and your son and daughter are saying Daddy, we want you home (he made the decision to leave).

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“I’m incredibly dedicated, I dedicate my life to the players. I’m still in touch with Shamrock Rovers U15 players, Celtic players, I tell my Shelbourne players I’m there on and off the pitch for them until I die. I knew I would be asked (about commitment), I think it needs to be addressed. When I’m with players, they get the whole of Damien Duff.”

Damien Duff looking to make an immediate name for himself at Shelbourne

This is big news for the League of Ireland. Having Duff take up a managerial role there will certainly boost the profile of the league. For example, you can expect plenty of Celtic supporters to be sitting up and taking notice of it for a start.

There’s a connection there given his popularity during his time at Celtic Park. An appreciation of what he offered and the spirit he injected into the Parkhead dressing room.

Celtic fans missed out on seeing the EPL winner pitch up at Parkhead as a player. It was great to see him spend some time as a coach. And it remains to be seen if he ends up making a return one day to be the leader of the first-team.

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

For now, he has a big job on his hands back in his homeland. Duff joins the club at a time of excitement after the club’s promotion back to the Premier Division last month.

Ensuring they remain a Premier League club will be the main priority this season. However, with their last League of Ireland Premier Division title coming back in 2006, they’ve a long way to go before they can dream of those heady heights once again.

All the best to him, it’s certainly an intriguing choice for his first managerial role.

In other news, Celtic boss delivers brilliant defence of Giorgos Giakouamkis at media conference