Belfast Telegraph

Scottish clubs monitor David Healy's success after Linfield land another title

 

Party time: David Healy celebrates Linfield wrapping up their Gibson Cup triumph
Party time: David Healy celebrates Linfield wrapping up their Gibson Cup triumph

By Steven Beacom

David Healy's success with Linfield has not gone unnoticed in Scotland.

It is understood that Healy's progress at Windsor Park is being monitored by clubs across the water in the Scottish game where so many Northern Ireland managers have made a name for themselves.

Healy was overjoyed at the weekend to claim a second Irish League title in three years for the Blues - increasing his impressive tally of trophies to five since taking charge of Linfield.

He has proved to be a major success for the club but with that will come interest from other areas.

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer knows all about Scottish football having been at Rangers, and remains a well known name there.

Bosses from Healy's home country are in fashion in the Scottish Premiership with Neil Lennon at Celtic, Tommy Wright at St Johnstone and Stephen Robinson at Motherwell. Oran Kearney is also there with St Mirren having left Coleraine earlier this season, while Brendan Rodgers was with the Hoops until February before going to Leicester City.

The former Manchester United and Leeds United striker spoke of his love for Linfield on Saturday when the club won the title for the 53rd time and there is every indication that he wants to stay and build on what he has already achieved.

Linfield certainly won't want him to go anywhere, though given Healy only has a year left on his existing contract it wouldn't be a surprise if the board move to extend the deal. The fans, who hailed the Killyleagh native during and after Saturday's home scoreless draw against Crusaders, would certainly back such a move.

Blues chairman Roy McGivern has a strong relationship with Healy and admitted even after last season's trophyless campaign they were always going to keep faith with him.

That belief has been rewarded this term with the Gibson Cup, which will be presented to the Blues this weekend following their game with Glenavon at Windsor, and the League Cup.

McGivern has revealed that Linfield intend to go full-time in the "next two to three years" and the ideal scenario is for Healy to be leading the team when they do it.

The Linfield chairman is also targeting an improvement in Europe and ultimately reaching the group stages of a tournament.

The Blues feel Healy has the capabilities to make it happen. Last time Healy led Linfield into the Champions League, they won their opening tie to set up a money-spinning clash with Celtic, then managed by Rodgers.

Healy (39) will be intent on making another positive impression when his team enter the competition again in the summer.

It will be interesting to see what players are recruited to strengthen a squad that has shown character to bounce back from last season's woe and the class to claim the championship with three games to spare.

Right-back Chris Casement said: "It's been a very special season for everyone at the club after what happened last season.

"It's good for us to get over the finishing line and now we can enjoy the next few weeks."

Casement has excelled in a defence that has kept 21 clean sheets so far.

He added: "The lads have been brilliant. The gaffer hammered into us in pre-season that to be successful we needed a good defensive shape because last year that was one of the weaknesses we had.

"It's good that all the hard word has paid off."

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