John Kennedy has revealed he had talks over a potential reunion with Ange Postecoglou at Spurs but says he was “delighted” to commit to Celtic once it became clear he would be working with Brendan Rodgers again.
Speaking to the media on Monday the assistant manager also took time to hail James Forrest as a “modern day Celtic great” ahead of his testimonial on Tuesday and insists he will still be remembered fondly by supporters in 30-years time.
Kennedy was heavily linked with a move to North London following the departure of the Australian manager from Glasgow in May.
And despite initial discussions over joining the English Premier League side the 39-year-old opted to stay in Glasgow where he has had sustained success and says he is excited for the new season.
He said: “During that period I had a great working relationship with Ange, we worked really closely and really well together, and we had discussions around that.
“At the same time obviously there’s two sides to it, there is Celtic’s side and terms of me staying here and at the time was no clear idea of who the manager was going to be.
“So I was in a position with a decision to make, but as I have said before when the club moved quickly and brought Brendan in thinks started to become a bit clearer and the decision was made to stay here and be part of his team again.
“I’m delighted to be part of it, I’ve obviously worked here a long time and I know how the place works and I have had great periods of success.
“And with Brendan coming back and the relationship I have with him already, that is something I am excited about going forward.”
Spanish side Athletic Bilbao visit Glasgow for the Scottish champions’ final pre-season clash before they begin the defence of their Premiership title at the weekend.
And Celtic Park will be packed with fans eager to show their appreciation to trophy-laden winger Forrest’s career at the Hoops.
Since scoring in first-team debut away back in 2010, Forrest has won 22 trophies putting him third in the all-time list of most decorated Celtic players and only one behind the club’s greatest ever captain Billy McNeill in second place.
Another treble for the 32-year-old this season would see him equal Bobby Lennox’s all-time club record of 25 trophies.
He is also one of only three players, alongside club legends Jimmy Johnstone and Henrik Larsson, to record over 100 goals and 100 assists for the club.
Forrest also scored the winning goal the last time Celtic won a Champions League match in Parkhead when they beat Ajax 2-1 and scored in Rome when they famously beat Lazio in the Europa League just over three years ago.
Lofty heights for the unassuming forward, who has sometimes mixed opinions amongst the fans despite his achievements, and the assistant manager has been singing his praised ahead of his big night.
Speaking on Monday, Kennedy insisted Forrest will still be fondly remembered in 30-years time when people look back at his achievements.
He said: “For someone who as achieved so much in the game you would never know it, he’s a very humble guy, he never bigs himself up in any way and has a lot of humility about him.
“In terms of how he works he is such a professional guy, he’s one of the first in every day and makes sure he does everything properly, makes sure he’s always ready for games and that’s why he’s had such a good career and been at this club for such a long time and has had such great success.
“A lot of people don’t see the full extent of the work he does behind the scenes and he’s one that the young players here can look up to and learn from if they want to achieve even half of what he has.
“He’s been a great servant to the club and he’s a great guy to work with.
“In terms of medals, trophies and awards he has fully deserved them all and tomorrow night will be a great occasion for him to get the recognition he deserves.
“In 10,20 and 30 years time when people look at the list of legends at Celtic and what they have won they will realise how big a player he was
“I think he is one of the modern day great Celtic players, I think sometimes guys coming in from other countries with big reputations can feel a bit sexier at times but in terms what James has produced year in and year out and the time he has spent doing that is remarkable, because not may people stay at this club or any big club for that length of time.
“He’s also been very consistent, there’s maybe a few seasons when he hasn’t played as much through injuries but in terms of consistency and the amount of medals and trophies he has won in a regular basis is up there with the very best.
“He deserves this game, because he never hogs the limelight, he doesn’t want it he just wants to work hard and be part of a team.
“As much as it’s a testimonial and a pre-season game it will be competitive for us in the way we play it but it will be nice for James and his family to get the recognition that he fully deserves.
“I think he can also still have a big effect of the squad this season, because the type of player and guy he is, even when he’s not playing he’s always pushing the guy’s in-front of him every day in training and he still has a lot to offer going forward.”
Around 50,000 tickets have been sold for the game against the La Liga side with the club expecting it to be close to a sell-out by kick-off at 7.45pm on Tuesday night.