Once one of the toughest players in Irish League football, new Donegal Celtic manager Pat McAllister says he’s prepared to take on the challenge of bringing the club back to the Carling Premiership this season.
McAllister is all-set for his first competitive game since taking over from Paddy Kelly, admitting he is “obsessed” by the job.
“This is want I wanted. I wouldn’t have been happy taking a job, with no disrespect to anyone, that would be considered safe or come with mediocre expectations,” he said.
“I know what the sole expectation is at Donegal Celtic and it’s a huge expectation, but it’s also very exciting and an honour that the club has shown the faith in me to take on the job of winning promotion.
“I’m obsessed by the job, but I am loving it. As assistant to Paddy Kelly I was there three days a week, but now it’s seven days and 24 hours a day. I’m constantly thinking about new things; watching what others are doing; always learning.
“It has already changed a lot of things in my life; especially at home. My wife and kids — who have been most supportive — are understanding the new demands the job brings as well as those I have put on myself. I cannot progress unless I learn — this is no longer a hobby; it’s my job and my reputation is on the line from the start.”
Celtic face Glebe Rangers in Saturday’s Championship game at Celtic Park (3pm) — a team that dented Celtic’s promotion aim last season with a shock league victory.
‘Once bitten, twice shy’ is a lesson McAllister will remind himself of often this season.
“We have had a good pre-season and that included a big game against Atletico Madrid but the likes of Glebe Rangers, Loughgall, Ards and every other league club will bring a tough competitive reality to the season; we have to always be at our best,” said McAllister.