Roberto Martinez eager to visit Celtic Park as he makes Shaun Maloney prediction

By John McGinley

January 2, 2022

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez had planned to visit Celtic Park to watch the Bhoys in action against Hibernian over the festive period before the fixture was rearranged.

Martinez was looking forward to seeing new Hibs boss Shaun Maloney up against his old club on December 29th, but the game was moved to January 17th due to the winter break being brought forward.

The international manager is backing his former assistant to be a success in Scottish football as a boss in his own right, believing Maloney can put building blocks in place to challenge before Celtic and Rangers.

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking to The Scottish Sun, he said: “I was hoping to go to Celtic Park to see Shaun facing his old club for the first time. There will be other opportunities and I look forward to seeing his Hibs team. Slowly they will become very recognisable in the way he wants them to play.

“Shaun has always been excited about attacking, making the difference in the final third. But he’s experienced enough to keep a team balanced. I believe the commitment, hard work and ideas of Shaun will affect every aspect of this club.

“Shaun will build a strong team, one with the mentality to compete against the Old Firm and make it a really successful story. What you’re going to see is him getting the very best out of Hibernian’s players. That’s two wins already. I’ve no doubt he’s already making an impact on Hibernian’s results.”

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Maloney’s project at Easter Road is understandably an interesting one for many Celtic fans. There’s a sense that one day in the distant future he could even be in the dugout at Celtic Park. If he impresses at Hibs, those kinds of thoughts would only increase.

At the very least, a strong Hibs could change the dynamic of the Scottish Premiership. Even if not competing for titles, it makes everything more competitive.

Obviously, I am not actively wishing they do well, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Maloney properly cut his management teeth in a constructive fashion at Hibs.

In other news, Chris Sutton shares why Celtic title win this season is now “distinctly possible”.