As National Premier League seasons kick off in a number of states, one former Socceroo will be starting his coaching career in NPL Queensland.
After a stellar career, former Socceroo Scott McDonald- best known for his goalscoring exploits with Scottish giants Celtic- is now ready to embark on the first steps of his coaching career with NPL outfit Gold Coast Knights.
Scott McDonald's NPL debut
- Former Celtic and Middlesbrough striker was appointed back in August last year ahead of the 2022 season.
- Its his first major coaching appointment after McDonald drew the curtain on a distinguished 20-year playing career.
- NPL Queensland season gets underway this Friday night.
More National Premier League news can be found on FTBL.
After stints combining his media work with coaching in academies, McDonald told FTBL it was the attraction of being ‘hands on’ that led him to taking the reins at Knights.
"I was a little torn between my media work which I do also enjoy immensely, and coaching.’ McDonald explained.
"But since taking the job with Knights, I’ve been directly involved in recruitment, contract negotiations, video analysis… with all due respect I’m not going to get those opportunities if I remained in the academy system."
After a disappointing run in saw the Knights finish up in 6th spot last year, McDonald has overseen a big turnaround in personnel, with former Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix striker Mirza Muratovic one notable arrival.
McDonald briefly played alongside the 22-year-old during his spell with the Roar back in 2020.
"I genuinely believe in Mirza and want to help him improve." McDonald stated.
"If any player wants to get better they’ve got to get uncomfortable, if you don’t you’re going to stay the same’.
"All the guys have bought into that 100%."
Former A-League winger Jai Ingham had also been another addition, with the Lismore product playing in the Knights narrow FFA Cup loss to Melbourne Victory, before departing after just a single appearance to join South Melbourne FC.
McDonald insisted the parting had not been acrimonious.
"If a player needs to be somewhere else, it's only right we let him explore that opportunity.
"We’re sad to see Jai go, but I’m still very happy with the squad that we’ve assembled."
McDonald is also in the latter stages of completing his UEFA Pro License, an experience he described as incredible.
"It has been fantastic with the range of speakers that we’ve had access to, the likes of Jose Mourinho, Jesse Marsch- its been incredible."
Knights have enjoyed an encouraging pre-season, although they went down 2-1 in a friendly with defending NPL champions Lions FC at the weekend,.
The fledging coach though claimed it would have little impact on the season.
"I’ve played in teams that have won every pre-season game then couldn’t win in the league and vice versa."
"What I do know is there is a good energy in this group and we’re raring to go for our first game versus Logan Lightning this weekend."
Finally, when asked about his fellow countryman Ange Postecoglou’s impact at his former side Celtic, McDonald was full of praise.
“Its been phenomenal the turnaround Ange has achieved.
"He’s come in with the squad in turmoil after missing out on ten in a row and both the CEO and Chief Scout leaving too.
"Looking at their team now, man for man its far stronger than what it was twelve months ago.
"I hear people talking about Ange being in line for an EPL job- I think that’s a little premature right now- but in a couple of seasons who knows?
"I think he will want to do a proper job and fully leave his mark on that football club."
Meanwhile McDonald will take his Gold Coast Knights side to Logan Lightning in their opening NPL fixture this Saturday evening kick off 6pm local time.
The full Gold Coast Knight's schedule can be found using this link.