ROB JONES reckons Scott Brown was afforded the perfect coaching apprenticeship under Brendan Rodgers as he backed the Celtic skipper to form a dugout dream team with Stephen Glass.
The Hoops legend has been linked with a player/assistant role at Aberdeen following the departure of Derek McInnes, should Glass — the clear frontrunner — land the top job at Pittodrie.
The duo are firm friends after playing together at Hibs between 2003 and 2007, despite being at opposite ends of the age spectrum during their successful stints at Easter Road.
Rob Jones was club captain for much of that period and has seen both his former teammates grow and develop in different ways — and on different continents.
Yet he is not surprised to see them tipped to reunite in the Granite City and believes it is a perfect next step, particularly for ex-Scotland skipper Brown, now 36 years of age.
“Scott has done his coaching badges, is incredibly studious and is consumed by football,” said Jones. “People might look at him on the pitch — aggressive, vocal — and have a certain view on him, but he is a thinker about the game.
“You don’t get the level he has; win the trophies he has; worked with the managers he has without being really switched on. How many top managers have made Scott their main man? That says it all.
“When you have a world class coach like Brendan Rodgers building his team around you then it’s clear you understand the game and I’ve no doubt Scott will have learned a lot from Brendan. He was like his manager on the pitch.
“It is impossible not to pick up lessons and inspiration from a manager like that and, while he’ll be his own man, I’m sure he’d take that onto the coaching field.”
During his four campaigns at Hibs, Glass — unlike the teenage, hungry Brown — was already a made man. He had shone at Aberdeen as a youngster, earning moves to Newcastle United and Watford and had represented Scotland.
He led by example, Jones contends, and has displayed the same work ethic and diligence on his coaching journey, which has most recently seen him helm Atlanta United 2 in the United Soccer League.
“Everyone in the dressing room looked up to Stephen,” continued Jones. “He was a leader, looked after himself and was the consummate pro.
“He has taken those attributes into his coaching journey. It takes real bravery to step out of your comfort zone, go abroad and build a life and reputation abroad. He has done that in the U.S. and I know a lot of people speak very highly of him.
“Stephen could have based himself in Britain and just waited for the phone to ring — but instead he has made things happen.”
It remains to be seen whether his phone rings now, with Dons chairman Dave Cormack on the other end.
“You are always reluctant to call anything a ‘perfect match’ because the proof is always in the pudding in football,” adds Jones. “But this feels pretty close to one.
“I know what a big club Aberdeen are, I used to love the games against them and they are a proper top four club in Scotland.
“There is a cracking training ground [Cormack Park], ambitions to progress and the sort of pressure that young coaches need to become accustomed to — I’d be delighted for Scott and Stephen if they get in there.”