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Christina Aguilera, River City and the World Cup – Aberdeen coach Allan Russell’s colourful career

Stephen Glass and Allan Russell.
Stephen Glass and Allan Russell.

Football is but one of the many professions Aberdeen first-team coach Allan Russell has on his CV.

Russell, who has joined Stephen Glass’ backroom staff at Pittodrie, also doubles as the striker coach for the English national team.

If working with the likes of Harry Kane and Macus Rashford are not impressive enough then how about adding actor and model to the resume?

It is not uncommon for career paths to take an interesting route, but it seems Russell is in a class of his own at Pittodrie.

We have not double checked, but we can confidently predict he is in the company of one at the club when it comes to being able to say he has starred in River City and shared the stage with global pop superstar Christina Aguilera.

As incredible as it may seem, both are true. Russell was an aspiring model in his youth and, in 2003, he was selected as one of the entourage which carried Aguilera onstage at the MTV awards in Edinburgh.

Allan Russell, right, helps to carry host Christina Aguilera during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2003 at Western Harbour in Leith, Edinburgh.

A cameo appearance in River City was merely the icing on the cake of a remarkably and varied lifestyle away from the training ground.

It is a far cry from a somewhat modest career which began at Hamilton and which has included spells at St Mirren, Partick Thistle, Airdrie and Kilmarnock.

Allan Russell, left, hits a shot during his playing days with Kilmarnock.

It was Russell’s decision to leave Scotland for a new life in the United States which led to him reinvention. He continued to play with Carolina Railhawks and Orange County Blues and it was during his time across the Atlantic that he came to realisation the specialist coaching on offer in the US had rarely been adopted in Britain.

in 2012, he formed Superior Striker.

His programme, tailored specifically for attacking play, “is an elite attacking specific training program”, which, according to his website, involves “using intricate statistics combined with detailed match and training analysis.”

The aim is to help players develop their skills to take their career to the highest level.

In Glaswegian Russell’s case, it has certainly worked after he joined Gareth Southgate’s backroom staff at England for the 2018 World Cup and earned praise for his role in devising the team’s set-play routines. The fact Kane won the golden boot in the tournament did not do him any harm either.

Spurs and England striker Harry Kane.

But do not take our word for it – the testimonials on the website show the high regard in which the Dons new coach is held within the game.

Tottenham and England captain Kane said: “He does our attacking set-plays, which are going well so far. Every little helps – particularly the little details at this level, he does finishing sessions with us, tells us about opposition defenders, goalkeepers and telling us where we can exploit a weakness.

(From left to right) England coaching team Dan Ashworth, Allan Russell, Gareth Southgate, Martyn Margetson and Steve Holland during the red carpet arrivals for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 in Birmingham.
England striker coach Allan Russell during a training session.

“We are all top players but he is always coaching us things that give us an edge.”

Liverpool striker Divock Origi credits Russell too, when he said: “Allan’s analysis and training program has been vital for the game.”

Rounding out the glowing praise is Euro 2016 winner and Portugal international Eder Lopes.

He said: “The Superior Striker program has helped me develop into the best forward I can be both for my club and country, whether that be in the Uefa Champions League or major international tournament.”

Russell’s reinvention of himself has taken him far, but when you delve into his career on and off the pitch it should not be a surprise.

If his methods can help bring the same progress at Pittodrie then perhaps it will be time for Aguilera to shuffle off her golden throne on which Russell helped carry her 18 years ago.

Dons fans will certainly be hoping Russell can be their very own genie in a bottle.