Shaun Maloney in surprising name-drop as he picks which Celtic managers influenced him
Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney has picked Tony Mowbray as an influential manager from his Celtic years.
Maloney played under some truly memorable coaches. Martin O’Neill, of course, is the stand-out. Under Gordon Strachan, he flourished after being brought further back on the pitch. However, neither of those names emerged when Maloney was asked about the influential Celtic managers he worked under.
Instead, Tony Mowbray got the nod. Mowbray had an ill-fated spell as Celtic boss, only lasting about half a season. But there was a reason he was hired in the first place. His brand of high-tempo, passing football at Hibernian had been successful, while he also taking West Bromwich Albion to an FA Cup Semi-Final and promotion to the Premier League.
However, his time at Celtic isn’t too fondly remembered. Ultimately, he tried to do too much, too fast, but he clearly left a mark on Shaun Maloney.
The Hibs manager, who takes his side to Celtic Park on Monday, said [Scottish Sun]: “It would be really difficult to pinpoint one manager from my time at Celtic.
“They would all have had different influences, even the ones in less positive times.
“Tony Mowbray, who had a very short period of time there, I had a real connection with. Even though it wasn’t a positive spell, as an individual he had an impact on me.
“All of them would have had an effect or impact on me, as I hope I am having on my own players now. Everyone will take something from each manager. I’m sure it must shape you, whether it is conscious or not.
“I spent many great years at Celtic, and I learned under some great managers and coaches.”
Shaun Maloney shows some class in giving nod to former Celtic boss Tony Mowbray
Again, Mowbray’s spell isn’t looked back on fondly.
But with hindsight, his hiring made sense at the time. The football he wanted to play at Celtic could’ve been great if things had clicked for him. Some interesting signings were made, but far too many players were shipped out. It wasn’t ideal.
Clearly, though, his tactics left an impression on Shaun Maloney. And it’s a good lesson, too; Mowbray, as unsuccessful as he was at Celtic, at least had a tactical vision. He’s not given up on it either. His Blackburn Rovers side sit third in the Championship at the time of writing [Sky Sports].
It shows Maloney’s propensity for an interesting take, though. Before he took the Hibernian job, he was noted for his more esoteric opinions on Scottish football, starring on Sportscene and the like. Roberto Martinez has praised the former Celtic star’s “elite brain” in the past [BBC].
When you think about it, accepting disappointment and staying true to your brand of football is a massive lesson. It comes with pitfalls, and Maloney knows about that first-hand from Mowbray’s time at Celtic.
But it is a lesson nonetheless. A classy touch from the Hibs manager.