Chris Davies cut his coaching teeth under a Celtic favourite who never tired of regaling him with tales of how he helped stop Rangers winning ten in a row.
As he prepares to help Brendan Rodgers in the quest to keep the current Celtic squad on track towards that landmark sequence of consecutive league title wins, Davies has already tapped into his old boss Jonathan Gould’s knowledge of the club.
Davies, who was formally unveiled as Celtic’s new assistant manager yesterday, spent two years at New Zealand side Hawke’s Bay United when former Parkhead goalkeeper Gould was in charge. Gould, now back in the UK as goalkeeping coach at West Bromwich Albion, was a key figure in the Celtic side which won the title in 1998 to deny Rangers outright possession of the record for successive league triumphs in Scotland.
“That’s my Celtic connection, having worked for Gouldy,” said Davies. “I’ve got a huge amount of time and respect for him, along with his dad Bobby who was also in New Zealand at the time and was great with me.
“Gouldy is a fantastic character. I’ve already spoken to him about Celtic. He’s still a massive Celtic fan, he has a huge affection for the club.
“He told me he was part of the team which stopped Rangers winning ten in a row and that he also won a domestic treble here. I don’t usually listen to his advice! He hasn’t really given me any, to be fair. I’m hoping he can come up and visit us at the club.”
Just 31, Davies moved into coaching at the age of 19 when he was forced to give up his playing career because of a serious foot injury.
His stint in New Zealand was just one stop on a coaching education which began with a sports science degree at Loughborough University and eventually saw him become a valued lieutenant of his former Reading academy manager Rodgers at Swansea City, Liverpool and now Celtic.
“I’ve been coaching for 12 years now since I stopped playing and that’s a decent period of time,” said Davies. “It’s given me the chance to take my time, learn and be prepared.
“I was down when I was first told by a surgeon I had to explore other avenues in life other than playing football, but not for long. I wasn’t going to feel sorry for myself. For pure love of the game, I couldn’t see me doing anything else other than staying in football and Brendan told me I could still have a good career in the game.
“It was a good spell for me in New Zealand under Gouldy, playing a little and coaching their academy team.
“I came back home to do my ‘A’ licence with the Welsh FA, who I played for at age group level as I’m half-Welsh and half-English. It was time to come back and that’s when Brendan got the Swansea City job and needed someone to go with him.
“Brendan has been a mentor to me. I’m biased, but he has immense qualities. His temperament is unique and that’s why he can take on big jobs like Liverpool and Celtic. My role is to support him in any way I can.”