PAUL McGinley, the new European Ryder Cup captain, is set to tap into the knowledge of a member of Celtic’s coaching staff in the build-up to next year’s match at Gleneagles.
Jim McGuinness joined Neil Lennon’s backroom team in November as a performance consultant on the recommendation of McGinley, a promising Gaelic footballer before his career was ended by a broken kneecap, and is helping in the development of the club’s young players.
Having been impressed by the job he was doing in Gaelic football as the manager of All-Ireland winners Donegal, McGinley had “marked Dermont Desmond’s card” about him and the Celtic majority shareholder liked what he heard about McGuinness’ man-management skills.
“I told Dermot he was, as I put it, cutting edge and to keep an eye on him. Dermot replied that he would,” said McGinley, a Celtic supporter.
“Next thing, my dad brought Jim as a guest to the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in June. It was his first experience of a golf tournament. After the pro-am, they happened to meet Dermot in the hospitality area and Jim was introduced.
“But nothing happened until after Donegal had won the All-Ireland. That was when Dermot invited him down to his office. I had no further involvement at that point, but was obviously delighted when Jim was appointed.”
Immediately after being appointed for the Perthshire post in the UAE capital last On Tuesday, McGinley said he planned to have a “strong Scottish theme” for the match at Gleneagles, but stressed that would not include anything to do with football as his aim was to “unite Scotland, not divide it”.
However, it is nothing new for Ryder Cup captains to seek advice from people in the football fraternity, with Sam Torrance having picked Sir Alex Ferguson’s brains in the build-up to his winning captaincy at The Belfry in 2002.