Football: Celtic eye Barnes and Dalgish

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The Independent Online
JOHN BARNES will meet representatives of Celtic over the next couple of days which could confirm his appointment as the new first-team coach of the Parkhead club.

Barnes has been tipped to head the club's coaching team under his former Liverpool team-mate and manager, Kenny Dalglish, who is expected to be confirmed as Celtic's first technical director today.

Barnes is keen to start his coaching career in Glasgow and could put pen to paper after meeting the club's chief executive, Allan MacDonald.

Barnes has been looking for a suitable opportunity since completing a loan with Charlton Athletic at the end of the season. He has made no secret of his desire to move into management but was recently overlooked for the Sheffield United job. Although he would have preferred a No 1 role, an offer to work with Dalglish at a club the size of Celtic appears too good to turn down.

Under MacDonald, the club are anxious to recreate the European glory days they enjoyed when Jock Stein was manager, and Barnes is seen as one of the men able to attract big-name players.

The future of the current coach, Jozef Venglos, was cast into doubt after a season in which Celtic finished without a trophy. A 1-0 Scottish Cup final defeat at Hampden Park last month handed Rangers the domestic treble and led to calls for Venglos's departure.

The Celtic defender Marc Rieper is expected to announce his retirement at the weekend. The Danish international has been told that a toe injury cannot be cured without a delicate operation that has a less than 50 per- cent chance of success.

A second opinion confirmed the initial diagnosis of a Glasgow-based specialist, Eric Anderson, who said that even if Rieper was to have the operation he may only extend his career by one season and he then could be in constant pain in later life.

The 31-year-old Rieper, signed from West Ham and a central figure in Celtic's championship season of 1997-98, has returned to Denmark to consider his options. "Marc has the major decision to make and we won't put any pressure on him," said Celtic's physiotherapist, Brian Scott.