Seventies favourite Peter Latchford has returned to Celtic to help coach the youth team goalkeepers.
Latchford spent more than a decade at Celtic and played a memorable role in many triumphs including the never to be forgotten 4-2 title win over Rangers in 1979 and the following years Scottish Cup win over the same side at Hampden.
Jock Stein signed the keeper on loan from West Brom in 1975 and after picking up a Scottish Cup winners medal against Airdrie at the end of the season the transfer was made permanent.
Latchford will split his time between Queen of the South and Celtic and was delighted to be asked back to Celtic in a professional capacity.
He said: “Chris McCart gave me a call and asked if my afternoon’s were free to help with the 17s and 19s and I was delighted to accept the offer.
“It’s great to be back at the old stamping ground even if things have changed a bit since I was playing- there’s a lot more grass at Barrowfield that when I trained here.
“This job fits in with what I’m doing at the moment. It helps the club out, the keeper’s need looked after and I’ll be able to take them for some extra sessions.
“I didn’t need to be asked twice, I never needed a second thought when he phoned me. Basically I’m working for Queen of the South in the mornings at Glasgow Green and I’ll do a few afternoons for Celtic. It works out well for everybody.”
Robbie Thomson is Celtic’s first choice keeper at u-19 level and has kept a clean sheet in all five SPL matches this season.
On Sunday Dundee became the first team to score against Celtic but the young hoops went on to win 6-1 to progress into the fourth round of the SFA Youth Cup.
Thomson is in his first season with the u-19 squad and has made an instant impression on Latchford.
He added: “Robbie is an excellent keeper. He has great commitment, works hard and is a pleasure to work with. All that he wants to do is train, he has a good chance in the game.
“I’d expect the keepers at Celtic to be of a certain standard so I’m not surprised by him.
“There’s quite a few keepers here, every team is always looking for keepers and Robbie knows that he has to be on his toes.
“The game is constantly changing, the game is quicker and the ball moves a lot more, it is very light and that makes things different.
“I’m delighted to be working here and if I can help Robbie in his career then I’ll be very happy. There’s a good winning mentality throughout the squad and that comes from the coaching staff.
“Any boy that comes here has to be good to begin with and the way that they are treated is first class. The difference between the way they prepare and train with my day is chalk and cheese, the facility at Lennoxtown was only dreamed of in my day.”
Goalkeeping coaches are a reasonably modern development with keepers often left to their own devices in the past with the senior keeper at a club passing on his experience to others.
Stevie Woods is now in charge of goalkeeping coaches with the position now regarded as an essential one within the game.
Latchford admitted: “In the past there was usually three keepers at a club, a senior, a reserve and a youth and we trained with the rest of the players.
“The only training that we had was shooting, crossing and finishing and we never really thought too much about it in those days.
“When I finished playing I cold see a need for keepers to be coached separately, I used to do it with Packie Bonner and we coached each other.
“We could see a need for specialist coaching but it took another ten years or more after I finished before goalkeeper coaching took off and clubs realised that it was a good idea.
“Alan Hodgkinson came in at Rangers and it took off from there. There was a realisation of the way that the game has progressed and clubs know that keepers need specialists training away from the other numpties!
“Looking back I know that I could have been much better with coaching. We did our best with what we had and that’s just the way it was. I learned from watching others and from the keepers that I worked with.”