How Jim McGuinness helped Irish League defender through injury ordeal

How Jim McGuinness helped Irish League defender through injury ordeal

Portadown defender Paddy McNally says he turned to some philosophy from Jim McGuinness to get him through his injury ordeal.

McNally suffered a posterior ligament knee injury on December 7 last year but is finally closing in on a return.

The former Championship Player of the Year admits the past 12 months have been “a bit of a nightmare”, but he is beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

With much of his rehab and training done in solitary, former Celtic trainee McNally turned to ex-Donegal GAA manager McGuinness to help guide him through his recovery.

McGuinness – who led Donegal to the Sam Maguire in 2012 – spent three years with Glasgow Celtic as an underage coach.

Reflecting on his recovery, McNally told Belfast Live’s That’s What I Call Football podcast: “I have spoken to people in the past about the psychology of the game.

Jim McGuinness spent three years at Celtic as an underage coach
(Image: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

“I did a bit of work with Jim McGuinness when he was at Celtic, but that’s the only person I have really spoken to about that side of the game.

“And then I read a couple of books. I had no other choice but to help myself through the recovery phase.

“Jim was brought in as a psychology coach originally, to help with the youth team which I was part of.

“We would have had group sessions, and he would have talked about the positives and negatives during games, especially when you are a young player.

“What Jim tried to drill into the players was look at the big picture. Look at what is important here.

“When you are a young player you are caught up on the material things that come with football. Having nice clothes. having a nice car. But your focus at that age should be trying to get into the first team and stamping your authority on the team.

“As athletes we enjoy the physical side of things. But it is everything else you need to cope with. That could be negativity from the stands, the press etc.

“Social media is dangerous nowadays as well.”

Paddy McNally on this week’s podcast

McNally’s return will be welcome news to Portadown boss Matthew Tipton, whose side sit second-from-bottom in the Premiership following a difficult start to the season.

The former Larne and Cliftonville defender says he can’t wait to get back to action.

“I am loving it at Portadown,” McNally added.

“Even the way they dealt with me when I was injured was brilliant. So I have really enjoyed it.

“Even when I was injured, I tried to keep myself around the club and team. I try and go to all the games and do as much training with the players as I can.

“We ave a great group here and we can turn things around.”

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