Mark McGhee likens Celtic to Manchester City as Dundee boss reveals the moment he knew he had to keep managing

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Mark McGhee has compared Celtic’s football under Ange Postecoglou to Manchester City’s.

The new Dundee boss could barely have picked a tougher start than the Hoops at Parkhead after taking over from James McPake.

McGhee has been hugely impressed by the Aussie’s impact, with the Hoops sitting top of the Scottish Premiership.

And McGhee insists some of their performances have reminded him of Pep Guardiola’s superstars.

But that won’t stop McGhee trying to put the shackles on Celtic – just like Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt on Thursday night.

He said: “I’ve been watching Celtic’s games prior to coming here.

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“My God, a couple of the halves I’ve seen from them are as good as I’ve seen for a long time – and I include Manchester City in that.

“The freedom and the expression in their play has on some occasions been the best I’ve seen for years. really fantastic.

“They started against Bodo/Glimt looking like that again. They flashed a ball across goal early on and it might have been a different game had that gone in.

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“But Bodo got the first goal and they’re a good team.

“We’re not kidding going into Sunday. At the moment, Celtic are the best they’ve been for a long time.

“We’ll have to work really hard to contain them.”

McGhee’s appointment has been met by plenty of skepticism. At 64, few could have predicted a top-flight return for the former Aberdeen and Motherwell gaffer.

McGhee doesn’t get the ageism or questions about his ability. But he admits that having Gordon Strachan’s grandson Luke on the books at Dundee is proof that he’s no spring chicken.

McGhee said: “If people are saying 64 is old, that feels like total nonsense.

“But I’m also realistic. I believe the players and the team deserve energetic coaching.

“I’m now not as energetic as I was when I got the Reading job at 34.

“I have to do it another way so I have one of the best young coaches around in Simon Rusk.

“We get on brilliantly, we understand each other and want our football played in the same way.

“I will work to the level that I am physically capable and I am comfortable with that. My brain is still the same, my enthusiasm too.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou at full time after the win over Motherwell

“The idea that age is a barrier at the moment is ridiculous.

“Ange Postecoglou has younger coaches at Celtic in Gavin Strachan and John Kennedy. It’s a good way of doing it.

“I’ve known Gavin since he was born so that in itself tells you something.

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“It gets worse though because we also have Gordon’s grandson Luke here at Dundee. So it’s starting to show my age right enough!”

After leaving Motherwell in 2017, McGhee has been at Barnet, Eastbourne Borough and Stockport County. But it wasn’t that long ago he was Strachan’s assistant with Scotland and working with Premier League stars Andy Robertson, John McGinn and Kieran Tierney.

McGhee admits he questioned his desire to be a manager again but watching local side Brighton excel in England’s top flight was a catalyst to get back in the dugout.

He said: “I had doubts about whether I was determined enough to do it again.

“I wasn’t motivated to be manager of Barnet. Eastbourne was different – ​​that was a mate asking me to go in and keep them up which I did.

“I went in with Charlie Oatway, the ex-Brighton captain, and we had a bit of fun for 10 games.

“I’ve got season tickets at Brighton and seeing them do well made me realize I actually still want to do this.

“And I’ve got 1000 games to get to. Wikipedia says I’m on 974 games as a manager. The LMA has told me I’m the closest to it of any other manager in employment.

“But it’s actually 963 so I’ve got 37 games to go! I’m going to have to keep working until the end of next season so I’ll need to do well here.”



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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