There is a constitutional ebullience about Tommy Johnson. He is a man whose movement allowed him to make more than a living as a striker, once scoring a famously scruffy title-winning goal for Celtic.

He was a professional who suffered from injuries and a regular bout of itchy feet that saw him visit more than 12 clubs in his career, including Tamworth and Rocester. He is also a character for whom the inactivity of retirement is anathema.

His 16-year career fizzled out in some pain at Rocester where Johnson, who regularly been the subject of multi-million pound deals throughout his career, limped away from the game to contemplate a future that had rarely occupied his thoughts.

"I had a great career," said Johnson in a Gateshead accent that has not been diluted by his stay in Glasgow. "But I never really considered what I would do after it. I just seemed to be caught up in playing and the time passed."

His post-playing career, however, has thrown up two distinct opportunities. Firstly, Johnson went back to his first club, Notts County, to take up a coaching role under Ian McParland. "I'm loving it," he added. County are struggling at the foot of League 2 but this does not diminish Johnson's enthusiasm.

He said: "It has been a great thing for me. I love the coaching and I'm doing the kit too. It is wonderful to be back in the game."

Johnson, who is now studying for his UEFA B badge, discovered another subject to take up some of his time. As a player, he had a lucrative, and successful, career with Derby County, Aston Villa, and Celtic, among others. This gave him a decent helping of glory.

He scored the goal against St Mirren that won the title for Celtic in season 2000/1. He was part of a treble-winning team at Parkhead, he was a member of a side that reached the play-off with Derby County and played in the successful League Cup team at Aston Villa.

Celtic paid £2.3m for him and his journey from Glasgow back to Notts County included £1m-plus stops at Aston Villa and Derby County.

Johnson, then, is an affluent man of 37. After leaving Rocester in the Midland Football Alliance, he had more than a year to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. "I had a decent time,' he says. "I went on regular holidays, I was never off the golf course and I was able to act as taxi driver for my daughters."

But this was never likely to be enough to still his restlessness. "Then a strange thing happened," added Johnson. "My financial adviser, David McKee, who is really more of a mate, called me up and we were having a chat about his daughter who was on a gap year."

Sophie McKee had gone to Guatemala to teach in a primary school. The school closed while she was there because the main sponsor stopped funding it. Sophie had called home. And Johnson stepped in.

"I thought immediately that we could do something," he said. "Schooling in Guatemala relies on private funding. If there is no cash of that sort, then the school simply closes and the the kids are back out on the streets. But it doesn't have to be that way. I had the time and the contacts to do something."

Johnson, the boy from Gateshead, has now become a fundraiser for Guatemala. "We have three functions a year - one in Nottingham, a golf day and a dinner in Dublin," he says.

The Education for the Children gala dinner will be held in the Mansion House, Dublin, on April 19. The charity has gone from educating 75 children in 2003 to teaching 404 in 2008.

But much remains much to be done. Johnson, who has two daughters, Paige, 9, and Naimh, 5, sponsors two girl pupils. "It just seemed appropriate," he added.

The charity this year wants to rent a purpose-built school at a cost of £210,000. This would raise the number of pupils to more than 600.

The Dublin event last year helped build a "safe house" for the most vulnerable children, who are subject to domestic abuse. The Premier League has donated £70,000 to the charity and Johnson is determined to help make up the deficit on the rental of the school.

"We helped raise about £70,000 last year," says Johnson. He will be joined in Dublin by old mates such as Darren Jackson, Simon Donnelly and Johan Mjallby.

It will be an emotional occasion for Johnson, who lost his great friend, Phil O'Donnell, in December.

Johnson and his family holidayed with the O'Donnells and the Englishman has still to come to terms with the tragedy. "It was a nightmare," he says of O'Donnell's sudden death at Fir Park.

"I could not believe it. Still can't. We were on a skiing holiday and flew back for the funeral. I still feel for Eileen and the kids."

The mood briefly darkens before Johnson is directed on to the wonderful, captivating superficiality that is football.

Does the man who won a league with Celtic believe his successors can do the same? "They have it all to do after the Old Firm defeat," he says. "But I believe they can do it. There are positives about Celtic."

He added: "The crowd is sensational. There is a tremendous passion that can pull you through. When that crowd gets going you can hear it, all right. The players will need that support.

"Rangers have to come to Celtic Park twice. They will be confident after winning the last Old Firm match because that's the way it goes.

"If you win the big match, then you go into the next one full of belief. The losing side has the problem. You have to lift yourself and the fans can help.

"Celtic must now just go for it, particularly in the Rangers matches. There can be no holding back. The fans are different class and they will lift you. But the players need to believe they can do it.

"Winning a title is never straightforward and the Rangers players will know that. I won my title medal at Celtic before the split but it rarely happens like that."

"In fact, it was the Saturday of the Grand National. I scored the goal against St Mirren and I backed the National winner, Red Marauder. Not a bad day, eh?" he adds with a grin.

He immediately refocuses on the title race. "Celtic have a chance. There are plenty of twists and turns to come," says the man who knows all about the different directions life can offer. Tickets for the Dublin event can be obtained on 01158526684. Donations should be sent to Education for the Children, 19 Castle Gate, Nottingham G1 7AQ. Information: