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‘I WANTED DUFFY AT CELTIC BUT…’

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CHIC CHARNLEY rates Morton boss Jim Duffy so highly he once tried to persuade Celtic supremo Peter Lawwell to give him a coaching job at Parkhead.

The Partick Thistle legend, a lifelong Hoops fan, worked with the Cappielow gaffer during his managerial reigns at Dundee and Hibs before becoming his No.2 at Clyde.

Duffy, who kicked off his playing career with the Hoops, is currently preparing his Championship side for a visit to Ibrox on Sunday for their crunch Scottish Cup fifth round encounter.

But if Lawwell had listened to Charnley, the Greenock chief might have ended up as Celtic’s assistant boss in 2014.

Charnley said: “How highly do I rate Jim? Everyone knows how much I love Celtic and when Johan Mjallby announced he was going to quit as Neil Lennon’s No.2, I called Peter Lawwell and recommended that he replace him with Jim.

“I wouldn’t have done that just because he’s my mate – I genuinely felt that he would have done a great job there and I still do.

“Peter told me he already had someone in mind and that turned out to be Ronny Deila, but Jim would have done at least as well as he did.”

Instead of becoming Lennon’s deputy, the Norwegian actually landed the top job after the former Hoops skipper left the club in the summer.

Charnley believes Duffy is one of the most under-rated managers in Scotland, but all that would change with a Cup win in Govan at the weekend.

He insisted: “When we went to Clyde, we had the second-lowest budget. The next summer the board halved it and, the following year, they halved it again.

“Yet Jim still got us into the play-offs, where we lost on penalties to East Fife.

“His knowledge and love of the game is immense and he can spot a player, but the best thing about him is that he doesn’t over-complicate anything.

“I’ve never heard anyone in the game say a bad word about him.

”I still think Jim will get a bigger job. When Gordon Strachan goes he would be ideal for the Scotland job.

“He’s patriotic, goes to all the games and he’s a great coach and man-manager.

“When I played for him at Dundee and Hibs, he would give me Mondays off because he knew I enjoyed my weekends.

“But I had to work hard the rest of the week and do the business on the pitch for that to continue.

“Beating Rangers (sic) would raise his profile and make people sit up and take notice.”

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