The Little Magician
ICTFC are pleased to welcome the addition of Russell Latapy to John Hughes’ coaching staff, with the Trinidad and Tobago man becoming the club’s new assistant manager on a two-and-a-half year deal.
This will be the third time that Hughes and Latapy will have worked together in any capacity, after the two of them first met as players when Latapy joined Hibs in 1998, where Hughes was already plying his trade. The Trinidad man then joined up with “Yogi” at Falkirk after he was appointed player/manager in 2003, where the pair then went on to work together for six years before Latapy returned to his homeland to play for Caledonia AIA and retiring at the age of 41 as Hughes left Falkirk to become the Hibernian manager. Throughout their time at the Bairns, Latapy became a coach at the club, as Hughes gave him his first non-playing role in the game.
Latapy remarkably came out of retirement to play for the East of Scotland League outfit, Edinburgh City, in a cup tie against Irvine Meadow in 2011 at the age of 43.
Latapy, named by many as “The Little Magician”, had an extremely distinguished career, not only in Scotland, but also on the international stage. He made 79 appearances for his country, scoring 29 goals, with perhaps his most prestigious being the one appearance he made in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, as a 38 year old, where he played 25 minutes in a 2-0 loss to Paraguay. Latapy also played for clubs such as: FC Porto; Boavista; Rangers and Dundee United throughout his playing career which spanned over 24 years.
Since his initial retirement on the playing side of things, and before his brief stint at Edinburgh City, Latapy has shown no signs of disengaging himself with football, as he became the Trinidad and Tobago assistant manager, working alongside the Columbian, Francisco Maturana, before taking over the job himself for two years after Maturana left before being relieved of his duties following failure to qualify for 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Most recently, Latapy has been working as a coach, at a club he used to play for, Portuguese side, Boavista.
Latapy was excited at the task in hand as well as working with his old pal, Hughes. He said:
“I’m extremely excited, I’ve been on the training ground this morning and seen what they can do and I’m excited to be working with John again. There’s a lot of good technical ability in this squad, and as with all of his teams John has asked them to play football. It was a decision I had to think about mainly because of family reasons, but professionally it’s definitely the right decision.”
Caley Thistle boss, Hughes was absolutely delighted that he managed to get his man on board at the club and was eager for the younger players to pick the brains of his new assistant. He said:
“If I was a young player, and one of these technical players, if I did not try and get close to Russell and try and learn from him then you’d be doing yourself an injustice, get there close, he’s a very approachable guy and he’s a right good coach. The dressing room will take to him because he’ll be right in there mixing with the boys, he loves all that, so really looking forward to Russell coming in.”