Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has made the first addition to his backroom staff since taking over the reins at Parkhead with the appointment of ex-Morton interim boss Anton McElhone as the club’s new head of Sports Science.
McElhone boasts an impressive CV having previously worked for English Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur for almost a decade as academy and first-team fitness coach, working alongside players like Harry Kane.
He became assistant manager of MLS side New England Revolution in January 2018 before returning to the UK 11 months later to take up a coaching role alongside David Hopkin at Bradford City.
The pair continued their work together, returning north of the border to join Greenock Morton in the summer of 2019.
Postecoglou will have been eager to fill the position vacated by Jack Nayler, who left the Hoops to join RB Leipzig in the summer.
The Australian head coach will hope McElhone’s appointment can help his squad meet his high fitness demands after it was reported midfielder James McCarthy was struggling with the pace and intensity of Postecoglou’s training sessions.
The Republic of Ireland international, one of twelve new signings this summer, has been plagued by injuries in recent years, started Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Livingston before being replaced midway through the second half.
It took the 30-year-old over a month to make his Parkhead debut as he battled to re-gain full fitness having missed the majority of pre-season training at Lennoxstown.
However, former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner opened up on his private chat with McCarthy over the weekend, explaining why it is taking him a bit longer to find his feet.
Speaking on the BBC’s Scottish Football podcast, he said: “Having watched James on Sunday, he hasn’t played many games, and I spoke to him.
“He has been struggling with Covid also. He said he couldn’t train because he had to go and get checked, his heart had to be check. All of those checks has to be done when he recovered, so he hasn’t had any real training and he hasn’t had game-time.
“James McCarthy will get better, there’s no question. He has the quality, he’s a young man that wanted to come to Celtic as a boyhood supporter. He’ll do okay. It’s too early in the season to be critical of him.
“The way Ange Postecoglou wants his teams to play – it’s high intensity and I would assume that they’re training in the same way.”