IT was the worst of times at Liverpool when Brendan Rodgers hired Gary McAllister.
But the Celtic boss still found himself enjoying the best of times working alongside the new Rangers No. 2.
McAllister has agreed to assist new Gers gaffer Steven Gerrard at Ibrox, starting on June 1.
But it wasn’t so long ago he was part of the Celtic manager’s back-room team.
The former Scotland midfielder arrived at Liverpool as first-team coach in July 2015.
Just three months later, Rodgers was sacked.
It was a brief encounter, even by football’s ruthless standards.
But Rodgers spent enough time with the new Rangers assistant to understand what he will bring to his new role.
“Gary came in and was a really good man,” said Rodgers.
“He was a wonderful player, and had then dipped into management for a spell. I felt it was important at the time that we had someone who had that sort of Liverpool connection.
“Mike Marsh was moving on. I’ve always had that type of person in my coaching staff who has that affinity with the club, and Gary was someone who was respected there and could come in and fit comfortably.
“He’s a very amiable guy and he did that. It was unfortunate that we didn’t have a long time working together. It was a spell that was difficult for everyone involved.”
Rodgers has long since put the difficulties of his second season at Anfield behind him.
Managing the club he grew up supporting to the brink of a second consecutive Treble hasn’t hurt in that regard.
His prior knowledge of the peculiar pressures and responsibilities of managing Celtic have been a valuable tool for the Northern Irishman.
Steven Gerrard won’t be able to call upon the same experience at Rangers.
But in McAllister – a boyhood Gers fan – he will have an assistant who has the club at heart, and the ability to tell its story to staff and players alike.
“We had a good pre-season together and got to know each other well,” said Rodgers. “Gary will offer Steven good insight into the football life up here.
“With Gary, Steven will know what the club is like and the demands and expectations. Gary has a good knowledge of Scottish football and the expectancy of Rangers will help Steven, I’m sure.
“Gary has a nice way about him, is happy in his life and passionate about football and that shows at work every day.
“I’m sure he will want to transmit that to Steven and the players.”
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