The opportunity to pick the brains of Brendan Rodgers.
Scouting assignments to watch Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG.
Witnessing the recruitment nous of famed talent-spotter John Park.
As John McGlynn recalls almost four years as a scout and opposition analyst at Celtic, it is easy to comprehend why the Raith Rovers manager describes it as a ‘massive learning curve’.
And Thursday will see the experienced coach seek to turn those lessons against the club who helped to shape his outlook, as Rovers visit Parkhead in the Premier Sports quarter-final.
“Not only was I learning from Celtic, I was learning from the opposition,” said McGlynn “Some of the games I was going to — Barcelona, PSG, Bayern Munich.
“You learn from the way they play.
“It was two-fold: I picked up a lot from being involved with Brendan Rodgers and his staff, but also the teams I watched, domestically and in Europe.
“It was a massive learning curve.
“The scouting I did allowed me to work with John Park and see the recruitment at a club like Celtic.
— SPFL (@spfl) July 14, 2021
“I believe I am a better manager for my time there.”
Asked whether witnessing those displays in the Camp Nou have influenced Raith Rovers’ style, McGlynn smiled: “It does help if you have Lionel Messi.
“But it is all relative with regards to the level you are playing. Can you impose yourself on the game and play a particular style?”
‘A modern, new era’
McGlynn’s perspective on how the game is evolving — especially after witnessing Rodgers’ tactical, analytical methods — is refreshing.
While he playfully uses the word ‘geeks’, it does not undercut his appreciation for a new facet of football management.
“Under Brendan, the tactics side of the game really came in,” he continued. “It was a modern, new era.
“You get younger coaches coming through and, although they might not have played the game at a high level, they are tactically sound.
“They are football geeks and are coming to the fore.
“The tactical side is what I have picked up a lot more.”
None of which is to suggest that McGlynn was a novice prior to walking through the doors of Celtic Park in 2015.
He led Rovers to a Division One title challenge in 2011/12, guided Hearts to a League Cup final — being dismissed mere weeks before the showpiece — and bossed Livingston.
“I worked under Jim Jefferies, Craig Levein, Peter Houston,” continued McGlynn, of his early coaching days at Tynecastle.
“I even look back to George Burley and the foreign guys who came in with Graham Rix.
“If you put everything together, it gives you a really good bank of knowledge.”
All of which he will call upon this week.
“Celtic were absolutely flying a couple of weeks ago and I’m not going to be derailed in my thoughts just because they lost on Sunday [against Livingston],” he added. “It’s going to be a big challenge.”