We caught up with Celtic's Jim McGuinness ahead of 'Celtic the Musical' at the Forum

For we only know that there's going to be a show, and the Celtic Musical will be there…  

In fact, Celtic the Musical will be here for a five day stint at the Millennium Forum from Tuesday 27th September to Saturday 1st October.

The new show, created by Alterean Media has already received the thumbs up from the guys in the know, the club themselves have given the show their official backing and support. First team coach Brendan Rodgers together with his backroom staff were in attendance during its Glasgow run and gave it a glowing review and the Glaswegians seem to have loved it too, a full house for all eleven nights at the Pavilion Theatre.

We caught up with former Donegal GAA manager and current Performance Consultant Jim McGuinness to find out what he thought of the show. “It’s very humorous while bringing you on an emotional rollercoaster at the same time” he said.

“It tracks the history of the club in a family setting from Brother Walfrid all the way through. Willie Maley, Jimmy McGrory, Jinky Johnstone on the wing, Jock Stein obviously, Billy McNeill, Tommy Burns, God rest him and Henrik Larson. All these iconic figures that have come through the club, their history combined with the history of the club and this is brought together through all the songs that have been reflective of the team through its history.”

Alterean Media have built a reputation for creating successful football stage shows having previously produced ‘One Night in Istanbul’ and ‘YNWA – The Official Story of LFC’ which have attracted large non-traditional theatre audiences to a variety of venues. The mix of football themes and the musical elements has proven to be winning formula and their latest production has continued this trend.

Celtic the Musical tells the story of the proud history of the Club through the eyes of two families, united by their shared passion and features the songs that have rung round Celtic Park over the years.

Celtic supporters are renowned for the atmosphere they generate at Celtic Park, as well as the songs they sing with Lionel Messi once describing it as ‘the best atmosphere in Europe’. “I was there that night Messi had said that and it was incredible” Jim told me when I mentioned how even the best footballer in the world has left Celtic Park in awe. ”When Celtic scored the stadium literally shook that night.”

But what is it that makes Celtic’s stadium so different to others around the world?  “There’s a rawness and a hunger for success in terms of the atmosphere and this brings out the best in the players a lot of the time” Jim said. “Particularly on a Champions League night. When the Champions League music starts and the stadium is packed it gives you goose bumps, and it doesn’t matter how many times that you’ve been there.

“The atmosphere has a massive effect on the team and that’s why it’s important that supporters stay positive through performances. Sometimes in football stadiums that is not always the case but we are very fortunate at Celtic that our support base is very strong and very loyal and that has been a big help for the team in terms of success on the field.”

Jim’s own achievements are universally recognised and in Donegal he is seen as a legend having brought the Sam Maguire cup home when he guided Donegal to an All-Ireland Gaelic Football title with Donegal in 2012, not to mention having guided the same team to three Ulster Senior Football Championship titles in four seasons. His attention however has been focussed on football of a different sort since joining Celtic in November of 2012 and working through the necessary UEFA coaching badges.

“At the minute I am really enjoying things and working through it. It’s been about eighteen months of working through the badges from Kick Start One to the UEFA B but with all things going well I will start the UEFA A in April and see where that will take me” he said.

“It’s a new culture, a new environment and a new game and there’s a lot of the details behind the game that I have got to learn, but at the same time there’s a lot of the things that are familiar also such as managing teams and players, group dynamics and obviously strategies."

Although Jim was originally employed as Performance Consultant at Celtic, he has found his role at the club changing slightly, taking more of an emphasis on coaching. “It’s probably about 90 per cent coaching and 10 per cent performance consulting now, but yes I’ve been getting a lot more involved in coaching now.

“I’m very fortunate now that I’m coaching with the Under-20’s and that’s given me an opportunity to work with high end players and gain experience in a lot of competitions. We play in the Under 19 Champions League and have the exact same fixtures as the first team who play on the same day and we also play in the English Premier League competition, ourselves Aston Villa, Norwich and Valencia. Then there’s the Scottish Under 20 league, the Scottish Cup and we were in Northern Ireland for the NI Cup at the start of the season so there’s a lot of international dimensions to the football as well as the domestic stuff which has been really good for the players and also for me too.”

Celtic the Musical will arrive at the Millennium Forum on Tuesday 27thSeptember and run until Saturday 1st October with tickets from £15 and available from the box office now.


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