Don MacNaughton Coaching

Interview with John Rankin


I’m delighted the first current player in “The Dressing Room” is my good friend John Rankin. The first thing that struck me about Ranks when we worked at Ross County and Inverness was his desire to improve to always be moving forward. John is a great role model for young players.

Q) Biggest Influence in your Career?

A) I have to say the biggest influence in my career is my father. He didn’t let me away with anything when I was a kid and made sure I set standards and continued to improve them. Always had me doing extra on the park after his work or on a day off he had. After a game, he would pick out every negative and help me improve them.
In some people’s minds this would cause insecurity but certainly not I can assess my own performance and not falsely believe I have had a good game. 
Even to this date, I’m nearly 34 and his words hurt the most after a poor pass or silly mistake. With players and managers, I have a thick skin but he’s been with me from the very start at 9 years old. 
Without him and my mum sacrificing their life’s to take me to training 3/4 times a week I wouldn’t have had a career in the game.

Q)Hardest Challenge you overcame in your career. ?

A) The hardest challenge has to be overcoming being released by such a big club as a kid. It bothered me obviously, but having the mindset that I learned to develop it was work harder and take responsibility for my own career no one would give me anything I had to earn it myself. 
Earn a contract, earn the wins and earn bonuses and ultimately earn the moves and success that would provide me and my family.

Q)Whats one message you would give to young players today?

A)The one thing I would say to every young player is shut off from the outside world and give yourself every chance to be a first-team player you possibly can.
You’ll get one chance at it and you have to make the most of it. 
Have no regrets about working hard, give everything you have every day because football is like a bank in many ways… What you put in you’ll get back out with well-earned interest.

I’m delighted that the first contributor to “The Dressing Room “ is my good friend Donald Park. 

Parky has an insatiable passion for the game which anyone that has been on an SFA coaching course will appreciate.

Donald had a superb career primarily with Heart and Patrick Thistle and then went on to coach and be an assistant manager at such clubs as Inverness Caley Thistle, Hearts, Hibs, Ross County and then onto heading up the Coach Education Dept with the SFA.

Q )Biggest Influence in your Career?

A )There were several people that were influential all the way back to my school teachers but if I was to pick one it would be Bertie Auld who drove me on as a player and sent me in the direction of Largs and my coaching badges 

Q) Hardest Challenge you overcame in your career?

A) Again there were several challenges in my career by feeling I was not really the first pick when I was at Hearts at first so that became a challenge in making sure I was up for the games and not wanting to go out of the team.

Another challenge for me was when I broke my leg late in my career and I thought that was the end of it but I gave myself a target to get my leg back to as strong as it was before I broke it and I never missed a session and spent every night in the gym working on getting my leg stronger which obviously impressed Terry christie who offered me a new contract.

He Also asked me to organise a reserve team which is when I really got into the coaching side of the game

Q)Whats one message you would give to young players today.?

A) To me, it is always about attitude and you must have the persona; drive to be the best you can be and there are no shortcuts to becoming a top player.

What is a picture that is special to you about the game and why?

The picture of Billy Bremner and Dave McKay to me always epitomises all the wonderful traits we have as a nation. (Scotland)


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