Alex Bruce has revealed that Damien Duff told him his plans to move back to Ireland after he stepped down from his position as Celtic coach.
The former Hull defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, lifted the lid on conversations he had with the ex-winger on international duty during their playing days.
Duff is set to become the Republic of Ireland assistant manager, with his exit from Parkhead confirmed over the weekend.
"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 (from 🏡) (@CelticFC) June 13, 2020
Bruce has lauded his former international teammate for securing two big jobs early on in his fledgeling coaching career and revealed the 41-year-old always had plans to head back home.
Bruce told Football Insider: “What a great opportunity for him, it’s not a bad first two jobs in coaching, is it? To be one of the first-team coaches at Celtic and then to go be assistant with the Republic of Ireland. Fair play to Duffer.
“I remember from playing with Damien for Ireland, at the end of his career he had plans – I don’t know if they’re the same plans – but he always wanted to go back and live in Ireland – I remember him saying to me once.
“Whether that’s got a huge impact on him, it’s the perfect opportunity after living in England for a long time during his playing career and then obviously going up to Scotland, he’s got the chance to move back to Ireland, go home, and what a great job it is to go home with.”
Duff joined the Celtic staff as reserve team assistant manager early in 2019 but was promoted to first-team coach after Neil Lennon’s appointment as manager less than two months later.
He played 100 times for his country and win two Premier League titles and two League Cups at club level.