FORMER Republic of Ireland star Damien Duff is on the verge of realising his dream of joining Celtic – THREE years after he quit playing.

The ex-Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle winger has reportedly held talks with the champions about joining their coaching staff.

Self-confessed Hoops fan Duff, 39, currently works in a youth coaching position for Shamrock Rovers and is one of the contenders to become Celtic Under-20s coach, replacing Shaun Maloney who left to join the Belgium international set-up in September.

The acclaimed ex-international ace will move to Glasgow if he lands the role.

Duff, who made over 100 appearances for his country, is said to know Brendan Rodgers from their time together at Stamford Bridge.

The Hoops gaffer was on the London side’s coaching staff between 2004 and 2008, while the Dublin-born player was a star for Jose Mourinho’s team from 2003 to 2006.

Duff played for Blackburn against Martin O’Neill’s Hoops side in 2002 during the UEFA Cup run and was on the losing team twice – 1-0 in Glasgow where Henrik Larsson scored in the first leg and also at Ewood Park where the Parkhead men triumphed 2-0 with the Swede and Chris Sutton on target.

He also played for Fulham, Melbourne City and Shamrock Rovers before hanging up his boots.

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