McGuinness left his role as Donegal boss recently. Cathal Noonan/INPHO
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Jim McGuinness on leaving Donegal, his Celtic role and what he was doing at the Ryder Cup

The former Donegal manager shared his thoughts on the Saturday Night Show.

FORMER DONEGAL BOSS Jim McGuinness said his mind was made up about leaving the post even before the side’s All-Ireland final loss to Kerry.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Saturday Night Show, McGuinness admitted the team failed to perform in the climactic game of their campaign and suggested the outcome made the decision to leave more difficult.

“In some respects it was a difficult decision and in others, it was an easy decision,” he said.

“In my own mind, I thought, [stay] four years, and give it everything you’ve got. I had my mind made up before the final win, lose or draw, but I suppose it made it a wee bit more difficult after we lost the final.”

Meanwhile, he also gave a detailed description of how his role at Celtic has evolved over time.

“When I originally went into Celtic, it was working with players that were very close to getting into the first team,” he explained. “Can we bridge that gap and can we get them over the line and take them into the first-team set-up? From that point of view, we tried to put a lot of system in place to develop the players.

“In soccer, a lot of it is about opinions. When I went there, based on my own sports science and psychology background, I wanted to try to make it more objective and try to develop KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] that would give us a reading of players and that’s been rolled out from the under-9s to the under-20s.

“Since the new manager’s come in, he wants me to work pretty much exclusively with the first team, on the psychology side of things.

“We’re very like-minded in our approach, other than the fact that I’m very defensive and he’s very offensive. The principles are exactly the same. He wants high-octane football, work-rate, a lot of pressing, offensive energy going forward, taking the game to the opposition. That’s the style of play he brought from his previous club and he wants to implement that.

“There are a lot of demands with that philosophy and energy levels can sometimes be a problem. So the key thing for the manager is that the players have high energy levels, but when you want to train at 100% every day and you want high energy on the pitch, it can be very demanding, and that’s why my role has become very important.”

In addition, the 41-year-old coach also was spotted at this year’s Ryder Cup, leading to speculation relating to the degree of his influence on Paul McGinley’s European team, yet McGuinness admitted he was doing “very little” there.

“Mick McGinley, Paul’s father, is an ardent Donegal supporter. When we won Ulster in 2011, Mick called me up and said that Paul would like to meet me. Paul had just managed Ireland and the British Isles in the Seve trophy. He wanted to get a handle on team dynamics, because golf is [usually] an individual sport. He’d spoken to Martin O’Neill and Alex Ferguson, who was at the Ryder Cup and spoke with the team.

“But he was interested with what we’d done with Donegal and spoke about man management and the team and building relationships.

“I met him around Christmas time and our relationship has grown very strong. So there’s a lot of speculation about what I was doing with the Ryder Cup team, but I’ve learned from Paul more than he’s learned from me, because he’s been a very good source of counsel for me if issues come up, and with Donegal, there are always issues coming up. He’s always been there for me, as has his father and the families have become very close. So we were over just supporting him and supporting the team.”

Watch the full interview here>

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