Gordon Strachan warns Steven Gerrard about John Barnes’ fate at Celtic

John Barnes lasted less than a season as 'Celtic head coach in 1999-2000. Picture: SNS
John Barnes lasted less than a season as 'Celtic head coach in 1999-2000. Picture: SNS
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Former Celtic and Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has warned Steven Gerrard to be mindful of John Barnes’ sour experience of being in charge of one half of the Old Firm.

Gerrard, who is currently cutting his teeth in coaching with Liverpool’s under-18 side, has held talks with Rangers about becoming boss at Ibrox next season.

Despite winning nine major honours, including the Champions League and Uefa Cup, and starring for England 114 times, Gerrard has been told by Strachan that nothing can prepare him for the Glasgow goldfish bowl.

Strachan was in the dugout at Celtic Park between 2005 and 2009 and, despite going into the job with ten years of management experience, still found himself overwhelmed - so he fears for a rookie.

He said: “I was 48 years old when I joined [Celtic]. I had worked at Premier League clubs, with Sir Alex Ferguson and all these kind of people.

“I had done my time, was ready to go again, got the opportunity and thought I could deal with it.

“Three weeks in, I thought ‘oh dear’. I’ve never felt so alone in my life. It was literally me and my wife taking on the world. It was so stressful. I’ve never felt like that.

“Me and my wife used to sit in the city, hold hands and hope it would get better. The whole of Glasgow, you belong to them. There are no FA management courses – anything – that can get you ready for this!”

Strachan draw parallels with Barnes, another Liverpool great, whose first job in management came when he was appointed Celtic head coach alongside director of football Kenny Dalglish.

The so-called ‘Dream Team’ turned into a nightmare and a reign best remembered for an ignominious Scottish Cup defeat by Inverness Caley Thistle was ended after just eight months.

Strachan told talkSPORT: “You can look back at John Barnes going to Celtic. John knew the game, worked with the best managers, a clever man, an educated man. You go there and think ‘I can deal with this’. No, you can’t.

“[Gerrard] has to think about where he wants to go and how long he wants to be in football management.”