Their paths first crossed in a Europa League qualifier and John McGlynn made quite an impact. The then Hearts manager masterminded a performance that belied a massive gulf in finances and status.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg at Tynecastle, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool were expected to finish the job with a flourish at Anfield but, having stunned the home side by levelling things, the capital club forced a late, late Luis Suarez intervention. The English side progressed to the group stages but Rodgers remains impressed by the job done by McGlynn, whom he has now inherited as a first-team scout at Celtic.
Still running the rule over playing and backroom staff as he susses out what changes have to be made to help Celtic successfully defend their Premiership title and sustain a longer run in Europe, Rodgers said he will bring some of his own people with him but is pleased that guys like the former Raith Rovers, Hearts and Livingston manager, McGlynn, are already on the books.
“John has been a manager before. I came across him when Liverpool played Hearts in the Europa League [in 2012] and was very impressed. He’s a good guy with good knowledge of the game,” said Rodgers. “He’ll get to see over the coming weeks how I work, but he’s a coach and he knows football. He’s someone I’ll look at specifically to [look at players and give an insight into opposition tactics]. He knows opponents. He knows Hearts well for a start! John is looking forward to that position and it will be great for him. He’ll have a handle on Scottish football.
“I always look to have a technical analyst who will watch opponents. I always look within the club to see who is there and then I bring my people in with me. So, that, along with John McGlynn.”
Assessing the player options remains pivotal, though, with the new Celtic boss aware that there are vulnerabilities in the defence that need addressed. The Parkhead manager has yet to bring in any of his own players but has made it clear that he is seeking quality, rather than quantity. And while he will attempt to downsize the squad, he will not need to offload fringe players before he is granted money to spend.
He also admitted that injuries could influence his signings especially with the early European games in mind.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s an area where you need to be robust,” he said of any team’s backline. “If players are going to play 50 or 60 games a season you normally find that your centre-halves will play those games. So at the minute we have a few of those injured and not fit.
‘But it’s where it’s at and we need to look to see when we can get them back. If they are not going to be ready it’s a scenario we need to look at.”
Jozo Simunovic is one who will struggle to beat the early start to the season, with Champions League qualifiers as well as domestic fixtures coming too soon for the Croatian centre-back as he battles back to fitness. “Again, it’s time,” said Rodgers. “Going by these early stages of pre-season he won’t be ready. It’s going to be into August from what I hear from the medical team.”