Shaun Maloney was announced as the new coach of the Celtic U20’s, and is relishing the opportunity to return to his boyhood club.
The appointment did not come as a shock as the 34-year-old knows what it takes to come through the academy and play for Celtic, after spending 10 years there as a player.
He replaces Jim McGuinness who recently quit his role as the U20’s coach working under Tommy McIntyre, to pursue a career in China.
Maloney has no previous experience as a coach, but he could not have come to a better place to gain it.
The Scotsman spoke of his confident that his experience of progressing from the Celtic youth academy to the first-team will prove beneficial to his new role.
Maloney spoke to Celtic TV about his new role:
I understand the position the players are in. I think that does help when I talk to them, I’m a lot more understanding of what they are going through and what they’re striving for.
I think that’s something that will benefit the players. I’m pretty sure it will and it will benefit me that I know how to speak to them.
I’ve taken an interest in the coaching side the past few years and I don’t think I could have asked for a better start to come in and assist Tommy (McIntyre) with the U20’s to get to learn off the first team staff and the manager.
Celtic’s youth academy have proven to play a pivotal role in the development of the first team squad recently, with the likes of Callum McGregor, Calvin Miller, Kieran Tierney and Anthony Ralston coming through.
I think that’s the role of the academy. We have a manager that wants to benefit these players and it’s our job to help the players become the best they can.
I want to improve each player that’s in the squad and then improve the team and try to replicate tactical ideas that the manager has.
The former forward is keen to develop Celtic’s next generation and himself as a coach.
Maloney won five Scottish Premiership titles, five Scottish Cups, and three Scottish League Cups as a player at the Hoops, and he will be determined to add to those honours as a coach.
The former Scottish international will face his first test when the development squad face Annan Athletic in the Irn-Bru Cup on Wednesday. Kick-off is 19:45 at Galabank Stadium.