Clyde star John Rankin has made his 600th senior appearance

John Rankin shakes hands after completing his 600th senior appearance for Clyde against Albion Rovers (pic by Craig Black Photography)
John Rankin shakes hands after completing his 600th senior appearance for Clyde against Albion Rovers (pic by Craig Black Photography)

John Rankin’s senior career has taken him a long way over the past 16 years. But these days it all takes place much closer to home. Literally.

Having come through the youth system at Manchester United, Rankin kicked off his senior career in Dingwall with Ross County.

He’s since had spells all over the country, at Inverness Caley Thistle, Hibernian, Dundee United, Falkirk and Queen of the South.

But since last summer he’s been an integral part of the squad Danny Lennon is building at Broadwood - and it only takes him a couple of minutes to walk home after home games.

The midfielder made his 600th senior appearance in Saturday’s win over Albion Rovers, as Clyde stretched their unbeaten run to 14 matches and closed the gap on leaders Edinburgh City at the top of the League 2 table.

At the start of the season Rankin admitted the chance of being part of a championship challenge - something missing from his CV - was a major attraction in signing for his hometown club.

And he acknowledges that as the business end of the season kicks in, the younger Clyde players in particular are looking to him for guidance and advice. And it’s a role he seems to be thoroughly enjoying.

He said: “At this stage of the season the young boys are looking to players who have played a lot of games to see how they go and push themselves through at this stage of the season.

“It’s just about leading the boys and advising them on the pitch, and to be fair the boys are an absolutely great bunch.

“Whatever I say on the pitch they don’t question and just go and try to do it to the best of their ability.

“That’s brilliant for me because they trust me and realise what I’m trying to do.”

But his influence hasn’t just been of an advisory capacity for the former PFA Scotland chairman. He has also made a major contribution and become an increasingly important influence on the pitch.

Rankin has started 26 of the club’s 29 competitive matches this season, plus making one substitute appearances, and has contributed six goals, making him the Bully Wee’s joint second-top scorer behind David Goodwillie.

There have been vital strikes among them as well - such as the only goal in the crucial 1-0 away win over promotion rivals Edinburgh City in November which kickstarted the Bully Wee’s current 14-match unbeaten run and a dramatic 90th minute winner in another 1-0 win over Annan at Broadwood in December.

Typically Rankin played down his own landmark achievement of his 600th senior appearance on Saturday - and insisted the most important thing to him was helping Clyde win the game.

He said: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s the first game or whatever game it’s just the three points which is all that matters.

“I didn’t think we were great at times today, but at this stage of the season it’s about grinding and getting three points on the board and credit to the boys, we managed to see it through in the end.”