Simon Donnelly – I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan Gauld forces himself into the Scotland set-up

Former Celtic player, Simon (Sid) Donnelly, joins ACSOM’s Scott Alcroft to chat about his life after football…

You finished your football playing career with Partick Thistle and subsequently joined your good friend and former Celtic Captain, Jackie McNamara, at Dundee United as his Assistant Manager. How was that experience, Sid?

We had a successful spell at Partick Thistle before Dundee United, but my experience there mostly was really enjoyable. We had some fantastic young talent to work with. That team really entertained and were exciting and attacking. Sadly, we fell short in the 2014 Scottish Cup final and lost five major players the following season. But, for that period, that team played some great football.

Ryan Gauld, who you had in the side at that time, was tipped for superstar status. How did you rate him?

Ryan was brilliant. He was 16 when I first met him, and had so much talent. I’m delighted to see he’s doing well recently in Portugal. I wouldn’t be surprised if he forced himself into the Scotland set-up. He has the ability.

We then saw the creation of 1st Star. How did the idea for that materialise and who was involved?

1st Star was an idea on the back of doing some Q&As after football. We thought we could put some similar events on with various players. People always like to hear stories, a little insight into the football world and most of our gigs are intimate, up close and personal.

What was your maiden event like? Tell us about that and who your guests were?

Our first 1st Star gig was in Glasgow with the legend Lubo Moravcik, a really good turn out and a great evening, and it spurred us on to plan more events.

What other events has 1st Star done?

Subsequently, we’ve had numerous players at many different venues, Glasgow, Irvine, Greenock, Bathgate and as far as Spain!

1st Star have a huge event planned for the 3rd June of this year at the SSE Hydro but, with current restrictions, will you be looking to put that event back yet again?

Our Hydro gig is our biggest yet and it has been rescheduled for 29 November. We’ve had two fabulous lunches with Henrik Larsson and Kenny Dalglish in Glasgow but this one will be our biggest yet. An evening with Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton and John Hartson – three of Celtic’s most lethal strikers. We also have Martin O’Neill on the bill to keep the lads in check and have invited many of the lads’ team-mates along to make it extra special. It’s been frustrating having to put this gig back continuously due to Covid restrictions but we’re the same as everyone else. It’ll be worth the wait, I’m sure.

Where can everyone get their tickets from?

Tickets are available for the event on the Hydro’s website (, we also have pages on Facebook, Instagram and @1STAR88 on Twitter.

Yourself and Jackie also had a bar in Fuengirola in Spain named ‘Don McNamara’s’. What does the future hold for the bar after Covid 19?

Our bar in Spain was doing really well, but also has been affected in recent climates. We hope to open back up in the near future but are also looking closer to home – watch this space. You can also follow Don McNamara’s on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Interview by Scott Alcroft.

Scott is the author of five books. The Bunnet, Hugo, The Factory Girls, Daisy and Bonded By Burns. You can find all of Scott’s books on Amazon on Kindle or on Paperback.

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