Collins tipped to pass the turnstile challenge

JOHN Collins will help bring the fans flocking back to Parkhead - by moulding the Scottish champions to play "The Celtic Way".

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Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell could bring former Hoops midfielder John Collins in as No.2 to new boss Ronny Deila
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell could bring former Hoops midfielder John Collins in as No.2 to new boss Ronny Deila

Collins is in talks with the Glasgow giants and is expected to be appointed as assistant manager to new Norwegian coach Ronny Deila.

The ex-Scotland midfielder spent six seasons at Paradise during his distinguished playing career back in the 1990s.

And since hanging up his boots he has enjoyed stints as manager at Hibs - who he led to League Cup glory in 2007 -and Charleroi in Belgium.

His last job in the game was as director of football with Livingston last year where striker Iain Russell worked under him.

Russell rates Collins highly as a coach and predicted that he will advocate an exciting brand of football if he returns to the Hoops.

Attendances at Celtic Park have gone down in the last couple of years partly as a result of their Old Firm rivals Rangers not being in the top flight.

But Russell, now at SPFL Championship club Queen of the South, believes supporters will be queuing up to see Celtic play in the 2014/15 campaign.

He said: "I loved working with John at Livingston. He was absolutely brilliant.

"The Livingston side he was involved with was the best in terms of playing football that I have ever been involved with.

"He brought in John Hughes as his manager and the two of them had a very similar philosophy about how they wanted football to be played.

"I was 30 when I was there and I was learning things about the game I had never known. John was great for me.

"I certainly loved playing under him. Everything was about passing and movement, even when the keeper had the ball.

"He was just so positive and enthusiastic about the game. If he could have coached you 24 hours a day, seven days a week he would have.

"He was the first guy in the training every morning. He was so keen for all of the guys to learn. He wanted to pass on all of the knowledge he had gained in his career.

"You couldn't help but feed off that as a player. On top of his enthusiasm and his knowledge he was a really humble guy, a nice man.

"John Collins and John Hughes were a good balance. For about a year at Livingston we were playing some of the best football I have ever been involved with.

"It was very attacking and exciting. We were scoring a lot of goals. I think if John had stayed for longer we'd have ended up winning the First Division."

Russell added: "I think these are exciting times for Celtic. I would imagine they will play some good, exciting football. They will play the sort of football fans want to watch.

"I don't know much about the new Celtic manager Ronny Deila, but from what I gather he is very much of the same mindset.

"I am actually looking forward to seeing them play. Celtic fans have grown up with their team playing attacking football, playing 'The Celtic Way' so they will enjoy it."

The first challenge facing former Stromsgodset manager Deila as Celtic boss is to qualify for the lucrative group stage of the Champions League.

Russell is confident that Collins would help the Hoops make it into Europe's premier club competition for the third season running.

He said: "Celtic will have European games to play early in the season and it will be difficult for them to negotiate these qualifiers.

"But with the experience that John has of European football, and of playing on the continent with Monaco and coaching with Charleroi, I think he will be fine."

Football

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