AFTER more than 25 years of service, Celtic Football Club have recognised the work of one of their longest serving coaches.

Rob Thomson, from Cardrona, has been a fitness coach and kit-man at Celtic Park and Lennoxtown since 1988.

He’s seen it all, from the Hoops’ remarkable run to the 2003 UEFA Cup final, to overseeing the rise of young stars like Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Callum McGregor.

Rob, along with other members of staff, received the special medal from the club as a ‘thank you’ for his role in last season’s treble-winning invincible season.

And he admitted that he had no idea that Parkhead chiefs planned to honour their staff in a special event at Celtic Park.

Speaking to the Peeblesshire News, Rob said: “To be honest, I was totally surprised when we received our medals. There was a special function at Celtic Park recently where Peter Lawwell (Chief Executive) and Brendan Rodgers (Head Coach) handed out them out.

“It was a lovely moment, having been at the club for a long time now - I joined back in the 1980s when Billy McNeill was manager.

“The club was looking for a speed coach at the time, and one of my friends who I went running with was a physiotherapist at the club.

“He recommended me for the job and Billy then invited me in to help out one day a week.

“I started with sprint training and things moved on from there.”

Times have moved on, but Rob has been a fixed point at Celtic and revealed the best part of the job for him has been seeing the rise of young talents at the club.

He added: “I’ve such great memories of my time here. I’ve moved about from first-team to the academy.

“In my time, we’ve been lucky enough to produce some cracking young players and some of the lads here now have already trained with the first-team.

“Guys from the past have gone on to have great careers in the game: Charlie Mulgrew, Aiden McGeady and Ross Wallace all play at a great level in England.

“On top of that, our Under-17s side won the double last season and beat Rangers in the Glasgow Cup final.

“A lot of hard work is put in by the guys at the academy.”

On top of his duties in the west, Rob was instrumental in bringing a Celtic XI down to Whitestone Park last summer.

Peebles Rovers played Celtic in front a 500-strong crowd, the largest attendance at the ground this century, in a special friendly match.

Rovers manager Ger Rossi said: “There certainly isn’t any one more deserving of this accolade than Rob for his efforts.

"He more than deserves the recognition for his years of service not only to Glasgow Celtic but to the game of football in general.

“Having been involved in the game a long time it’s seldom you find a guy with Rab’s character. He’s seen it all and worked with the best in the business, yet he is extremely generous with his time and his outlook is always so positive.

“Football especially needs guys like Rob Thomson and there’s no coincidence why he’s been at arguably one of the greatest clubs in Europe for so long.

"That alone says absolutely everything about the man. Thoroughly deserved, and I’d just like to pass on my congratulations!”