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'Devastated' Duff reveals family commitments were behind his Celtic exit

‘I’d love to be a brilliant coach… but I think it’s more important at the minute that I’m just a brilliant dad.’

Duff joined Celtic's coaching staff in January 2019.
Duff joined Celtic's coaching staff in January 2019.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

DAMIEN DUFF HAS addressed his departure from his coaching role at Celtic, explaining that family reasons were behind his decision to leave the Scottish giants.

After the Glasgow outfit were recently confirmed as Scottish Premiership champions for the ninth consecutive season, manager Neil Lennon revealed that Duff is to move on from his role as first-team coach at Parkhead.

It was initially thought that he had chosen to focus fully on working as assistant manager to new Republic of Ireland senior boss Stephen Kenny, a job he’s due to officially begin on 1 August.

However, in an interview published today on Celtic FC’s official website, Duff said his commitments to his family were responsible for his decision to part company with the club. 

“The role I had at Celtic was my dream job,” the 41-year-old Dubliner said. “I’m absolutely gutted, devastated to be leaving, especially at this time, when we’re going for 10 [league titles in a row].

“It was absolutely a family decision. There is no job in the world that would have taken me away from the role I was in. I’d love to be a brilliant coach one day, but I think it’s more important at the minute that I’m just a brilliant dad, I guess.

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“For the first while I was away, my kids were like, ‘Daddy, Daddy, stay for nine and 10’, but as time went by, it was more, ‘Daddy, Daddy, when are you coming home?’ Celtic is one big family, but my family is here as well.

“It was the best year-and-a-half of my sporting life, and I include my football career in that. It was an absolute dream with amazing people. I’m gutted, but my kids need me, which is always the most important thing to any dad.” 

The former Republic of Ireland winger had been working as first-team coach at Celtic since Lennon returned for a second spell as manager in February 2019.

He initially took up a role with the club’s reserve team six weeks earlier, having started his coaching career in the underage set-up at Shamrock Rovers, where his playing career ended. 

“Like I said when I came in,” he added, “the only club that would have taken me away from home was Celtic, but then with my family based in Ireland, the only thing that would have taken me away from Celtic was my family.”

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Paul Dollery

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