THE scene is Tynecastle on New Year's Day, 2006.

A resuscitated Celtic side have just overcome a two-goal deficit to claim an enthralling win and breathe new life into their bid for the league title, extending their lead over Hearts to seven points. The balance of the match has been tipped by the weighty contribution of goalscorers Stephen Pearson and Stephen McManus, with the Celtic pair having since retreated to the dressing room without much fuss.

Neil Lennon does not get off so lightly. "That was one of the most memorable games I've ever played in . . . as we left the field there were fans trying to get at Neil Lennon. I'd never seen so much hatred for a man," says Paul Telfer, right-back for Celtic that afternoon and a witness to the verbal attack on Lennon.

The voluble abuse given to his erstwhile team-mate has dissipated during the subsequent nine years and is replaced by the quiet conversation of patrons of the local Starbucks in the affluent Indiana suburb of Carmel where Telfer now finds himself. It is not an audience likely to be captivated by soccer stories, even those which include being part of a team received by football aristocracy in the San Siro, while also refusing to bow to Manchester United.

His time in Glasgow extended to 21 months but Telfer's career can more reasonably be measured by the scale of his experience. His achievements - he won two league championships and a League Cup during his time at Celtic Park, while he also competed in an FA Cup final with Southampton - shaped Telfer as a player to the extent that he almost took the form of a manager in the Highlands two years ago.

The former defender came close to filling the vacant post at Inverness Caledonian Thistle having been invited back to the Highland club for the final round of interviews, before missing out to John Hughes. Telfer retains an ambition to manage a club in the UK and is back on the lookout for a new challenge after leaving his position as assistant coach of North American Soccer League club Indy Eleven earlier this month.

"The people at Inverness were great when I spoke to them. They said it was down to two guys when I got asked back on the Sunday," says Telfer, who remains director of coaching at local youth club, Carmel FC. "I was in the boardroom and was getting the feeling they were going to give me the job. I didn't know who the other candidate was but when I was walking out, Paul Hartley was walking in. I played with Paul with Celtic and thought he must be the other guy, then John Hughes got it.

"That was really the first job I went to in management and the chairman said I was just lacking that little bit of experience. At Indy Eleven I felt like I was getting international experience, dealing with international agents, players from different cultures. My eyes have really been opened up wide. When I do get back to England or Scotland and try and get into management, I think this is only going to help me."

His arrival in the States has offered new insight into the work of a coach and is the fulfilment of an enduring ambition to work abroad. Telfer declined the offer of a one-year contract extension in his last season at Celtic to return to his family home in England, but he acknowledges his children have settled well in Indiana.

"My son thinks he's James Bond - he's got an English accent and there are two girls knocking on the door every morning looking to walk him to school," he says.

A life across the Atlantic has taken been pleasing for Telfer, but he is still able to look back and pick out the enchanting details of his time spent in Glasgow with impressive accuracy. "Shunsuke Nakamura is one of the best players I've played with. You couldn't get a beachball off that guy," says Telfer, who shared a flank with the Japanese midfielder as he scored goals in successive meetings with Manchester United.

"After the game we won at our place [Sir Alex] Ferguson was going crazy at [goalkeeper Edwin] van der Sar, saying, 'I'll have to get you his DVD for Christmas. That is twice he's done you now'. That boy."

And while the renowned hairdryer treatment of one manager was known to get results, it is not always constructive to raise one's voice, a lesson Telfer had earlier learned at Tynecastle.