Russell Latapy

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Russell Latapy
Personal information
Full name Russell Nigel Latapy
Date of birth (1968-08-02) 2 August 1968 (age 46)
Place of birth Port of Spain, Trinidad
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1988 Trintoc
1989–1990 Portmore United
1990–1994 Académica 127 (32)
1994–1996 Porto 40 (6)
1996–1998 Boavista 40 (1)
1998–2001 Hibernian 84 (22)
2001–2003 Rangers 23 (5)
2003 Dundee United 7 (0)
2003–2009 Falkirk 167 (24)
2009 Caledonia AIA 6 (2)
2011 Edinburgh City 0 (0)
Total 494 (92)
National team
1988–2009 Trinidad and Tobago 81 (29)
Teams managed
2007–2009 Falkirk (assistant)
2009 Trinidad and Tobago (assistant)
2009–2011 Trinidad and Tobago
2014– Inverness Caledonian Thistle (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Russell Nigel Latapy CM (born 2 August 1968) is a retired footballer from Trinidad and Tobago who played as an attacking midfielder. He is currently assistant manager at Scottish Premiership club, Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

In a senior career which spanned more than twenty years at both club and international level, he played in Portugal (eight years with three clubs, namely Porto) and Scotland (eleven seasons representing four teams, including Rangers and Falkirk).

Latapy gained eighty-one caps for the Trinidad and Tobago national team, and appeared at the 2006 World Cup.

Early life[edit]

Born in Port of Spain, Latapy was first noted playing organised football at under-10 level. As a youth he played in the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary School's Football League and was called up to the national under-16 and under-19 football teams.

When he was 19-years-old, Latapy had an opportunity to attend Florida International University, but he chose to continue with his football career. This decision was supported by his mother despite the fact that in the 1980s very few Trinidadians were noted to have had careers in football that allowed them to earn a decent living.[1]

Club career[edit]

Portugal[edit]

In 1990, aged 22, after playing in his country, and in Jamaica, Latapy moved to Portugal and signed for Académica de Coimbra, playing four years in the second division. During his spell in Coimbra, he appeared in nearly one-hundred-and-fifty official games, and scored eighteen goals in his last two seasons combined, but the club failed to win promotion. He also credited coach Vítor Manuel as one of the coaches he admired the most.[1]

Latapy's performances with Académica saw him signed by F.C. Porto. Under Bobby Robson, he helped the club to back-to-back national championships, being used regularly in his second year (twenty-six games, five goals). Also, he earned the distinction of being the first Trinidadian to play in the UEFA Champions League.[2]

In summer of 1996, Latapy signed with city neighbours Boavista FC. On 29 October, he scored twice in a 5–0 home win against FC Dinamo Tbilisi in that season's UEFA Europa League (5–1 on aggregate), and was also part of the squad that won the campaign's Portuguese Cup, even though he did not play in the final against Benfica (3–2).

Scotland[edit]

In the 1998 off-season, Latapy was recruited by manager Alex McLeish to join Scottish First Division outfit Hibernian. He quickly became a fan favourite at his new club and earned numerous team accolades, including two Player of the Year awards and a Scottish Division 1 Player of the Year award; he also contributed with six goals in twenty-three games in an eventual promotion to the Premier League (SPL), as champions.

Despite his contributions to the team, Latapy was sacked from Hibernian early in 2001 after a night that began with him socialising with countryman and Manchester United player Dwight Yorke, and ended with him being charged by police for drunk driving. The incident represented a breach of the code of conduct for Hibernian players, who were forbidden to drink for 48 hours before a match.[3][4] It was around this time that Latapy and Yorke both quit international football after being dropped from the starting line-up by national coach Renê Simões, after the two players failed to show up for a training session.[5]

Following his dismissal from Hibernian, Latapy was signed by league powerhouse Rangers, who were managed by Dick Advocaat. He failed to reproduce his best form at Ibrox Stadium, even when McLeish replaced the Dutchman at the helm of the club – the new manager expressed a desire to field younger players, Latapy was 34; in addition to his age, the player's hard partying tendencies also did little to put him in favour with the coach, and he eventually left the club early in 2003.[4][6]

Latapy finished the 2002–03 season with fellow SPL league club Dundee United. In the summer, he was brought to Falkirk by manager John Hughes, his former teammate at Hibs, who had 'tracked him down' in Portugal.[7] The veteran started strongly, scoring a total of fourteen league goals in his first two seasons, and was an essential component of the team as they returned to the top flight in 2005, as champions. In the process, he was awarded the First Division 'Player of the Month' for April and was again named the league's Player of the Year.

He received another individual award in 2006 - this time the SPL 'Player of the Month' for August. The Bairns once again retained their top division status in 2008–09, but Latapy only appeared in three games. He left the club in January 2009 at nearly 41-years-of-age, having appeared in one-hundred-and-ninety-four official games (twenty-nine goals), and signed with Caledonia AIA in his homeland.[8]

He was inducted into the 'Falkirk Hall of Fame' on 29 November 2008. To mark this occasion the club hosted a 'Russell Latapy Day'.[9]

In October 2011, at 43, Latapy came out of retirement to sign for East of Scotland Football League club Edinburgh City, ahead of their Scottish Cup tie against Irvine Meadow.[10]

International career[edit]

Latapy's debut for Trinidad and Tobago was on 30 October 1988, in a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Honduras, a 0–0 home draw.[11] He was part of the squad known as the Strike Squad whom, needing only one point in its last game to qualify for the finals in Italy, was defeated 0–1 at home by the United States.[12]

In 2005, after four years without one single appearance, Latapy returned to the national team following the intervention of his friend Yorke – who had done the same the previous year – and FIFA vice-president Austin "Jack" Warner.[13] His first match in his second spell was a 3–2 home win against Guatemala in which he scored, and he took part in a further five games in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, including both matches in the decisive playoffs against Bahrain, with the Soca Warriors qualifying to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in its history.

Latapy's input in the finals in Germany consisted of 25 minutes in the 0–2 loss against Paraguay, in an eventual group stage exit.[14] The national team returned to a hero's welcome at Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and, in recognition of their achievements, each member of the team was awarded Trinidad and Tobago's second highest honour, the Chaconia Medal in gold, and TT$1,000,000.[15]

Coaching career[edit]

In the 2006–07 season, Latapy started his coaching career with Falkirk, acting as assistant to John Hughes, and holding that position until he left the club in 2009.

He then became assistant to new manager of Trinidad and Tobago Francisco Maturana and, following the Colombian's resignation in 2009, was appointed his successor.[16]

On 13 January 2011, it was confirmed by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association that Latapy would cease his duties as national manager, as the team failed to qualify to the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup after being eliminated before the semi-final stage of the 2010 Caribbean Cup. In his twenty-three games in charge, he recorded nine wins, three draws and eleven losses.[17]

In January 2014 Latapy was working as a coach for Portuguese club Boavista F.C. but it was widely reported that he was on the verge of teaming up with John Hughes once again, becoming his number two at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.[18] This appointment was confirmed on 24 January, with Latapy agreeing to join Hughes at Inverness on a two-and-a-half-year contract.[19]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Boavista
Porto
Hibernian
Rangers
Falkirk

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Latapy – the man, his moments, his dreams; Trinidad Guardian, 12 October 2005
  2. ^ Russell Latapy; FIFA.com[dead link]
  3. ^ Latapy axed by Hibs; BBC Sport, 22 May 2001
  4. ^ a b The Russell Latapy story – Part III: The ‘lime’ that soured Latapy’s career; Trinidad Guardian, 7 May 2003
  5. ^ Yorke and Latapy quit; BBC Sport, 29 June 2001
  6. ^ Gers to pay off Latapy; BBC Sport, 14 January 2003
  7. ^ Falkirk snap up Latapy; BBC Sport, 14 June 2003
  8. ^ Latapy to star in Pro League
  9. ^ Little Magician is to be honoured by supporters; Falkirk Herald, 13 November 2008
  10. ^ Hardie, David (19 October 2011). "Ex-Hibs ace Latapy returns to Scottish football". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Russell Latapy – Goals in International Matches; at RSSSF
  12. ^ The story of our 2006 World Cup success; Soca Warriors, 25 November 2005
  13. ^ Latapy's back; Trinidad Guardian, 23 August 2005
  14. ^ Exit, center stage; Planet World Cup
  15. ^ Prime Minister Manning clarifies rewards to Soca Warriors; Office of the Prime Minister: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 26 June 2006
  16. ^ "Latapy is Trinidad's new head coach". The Scotsman. 9 April 2009. 
  17. ^ Latapy and technical staff out; Soca Warriors, 13 January 2011
  18. ^ Inverness Caley Thistle closing in on deal to appoint Russell Latapy as John Hughes' assistant; Daily Record, 10 January 2014
  19. ^ "Latapy Arrives". ICTFC.com. Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Magician disappears; Trinidad Guardian, 10 May 2006
  21. ^ Latapy, 38, named player of month; BBC Sport, 8 September 2006

External links[edit]