'Big shoes to fill' - Pundit Exclusive: Celtic suffer 'Massive loss' after exit confirmed
Alan Hutton claims that Celtic have suffered a “massive loss” after the exit of first-team coach Damien Duff was confirmed.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Rangers and Aston Villa full-back insists that the 41-year-old is the “ideal” role model for young players to learn from.
Celtic confirmed on Saturday that Duff has permanently left his coaching role at Parkhead and has taken up the position of assistant manager with the Republic of Ireland national side.
"It was the best year-and-a-half of my sporting life. It was an absolute dream. I’m gutted, but my kids need me, which is always the most important thing to any dad.” 💚
Thanks for the #9INAROW memories, Damien and best of luck for the future! 🍀🇮🇪
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) June 13, 2020
The former Chelsea and Blackburn winger hung up his boots in 2015 and joined Celtic back in January 2019.
Hutton believes that Duff would have had a huge impact on the dressing room at Parkhead and that replacing him will be a task easier said than done.
Asked what sort of impact someone like Duff would have had on the squad at Parkhead, Hutton told Football Insider: “That’s the thing with players, they love coaches who have just come out the game because they understand exactly how they are feeling.
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“Of course a lot of the coaches who are older have played the game but they can be out the game 20 years and they don’t really see the way a young player sees it at the moment.
“For a person who’s like Duff who’s had experience internationally, playing with massive teams in Europe, to bounce off someone like that is ideal for a young player. He’s just stepped out the game so his knowledge is the same as yours.
“It’s ideal to have people like that in your dressing room so to lose that, it’s going to be a massive loss for them and we’ll have to see who they try and bring in but it’s going to be some big shoes to fill.”
Duff was promoted from a reserve team role to the first-team setup upon Neil Lennon’s appointment as manager back in 2019.
As a player he picked over 100 caps for the Republic of Ireland, while he won two Premier League titles with Chelsea.