Delighted that today's guest in “The Dressing Room” is Amy MacDonald ex-Scotland, Celtic & Glasgow City Captain before moving into coaching with Glasgow City and the Scotland women's national setup.
Q Biggest Influence in your Career?
This is a question I have thought long and hard about. I would like to give two answers. As a player, I was heavily influenced by Shelley Kerr, Pauline Hamill, and many others and obviously with Anna coming into the Scottish game, it was a mentality shift. Shelley drove standards. Whether it be on or off the pitch. She was feared. She was passionate, strong and had such a winning mentality. It was great to play with and alongside such strong characters of the Scottish Women’s game. They were all so different but it worked for them. It worked for the team.
When I became a coach the biggest influence I had was Eddie Wolecki Black. He challenged me and changed my thinking. He made me a better player and then laterally a better coach. He set the highest of standards both off and on the pitch and would question your thinking and approach. If it wasn’t for Eddie then I would not have become Head of Youth at Glasgow City FC. I will be forever grateful for that.
Q Hardest Challenge you overcame in your career?
I think being injured and having to accept not playing again. I ruptured my lateral ligament and the surgeon told me to stop because if I continued I would have serious long-term problems. When you stop playing, you lose your identity. For me, I went from Amy that plays for Scotland or Glasgow City or Celtic to just Amy. That is a hard journey to go on. When your life is defined by sport but it is one many of us go through. I am fortunate that I then had people who asked me to help the youth academy and I flung myself into that. However, it took me a long time to accept that as my new path. Transitions are difficult no matter when you go through them but it offers a great opportunity for learning.
Q. Whats one message you would give to young players today.?
To work hard. No matter how great people say you are or you think you are it is never enough. It will never be enough. You must drive your own personal standards. No matter where you are or what club you are at. It is not about them, it is about you. Take responsibility. If a coach doesn’t play you then find out why and improve. Don’t take the easy option and leave. WORK HARD.
A picture that is special to you about the game and reason.
I love this picture of Jo Love. It's the equivalent of Scott Brown against Messi or Ronaldo. Scottish women’s football has been on such a journey over the years and this was one of the first times we traveled to America to play the best. It epitomizes what Scotland stands for a fight, passion, and bravery. David and Goliath.
Q)Biggest Influence in your Career?
A)The biggest influence in my career would have to be my Dad. He was my first manager at Ross County and supported me throughout my career, giving advice and help when I needed it.
Q)Hardest Challenge you overcame in your career?
A)I had quite a few challenges, when I started obviously I was the son of the manager which caused problems, Sometimes with our fans and on a couple of occasions with teammates if I was picked in front of them.
Then when I signed for ICT at first, coming from Raith but being ex-Ross County I had to win the fans over and though we won the league the first season It was one of my poorest for the club.
The final challenge was Old Father Time, I played on until 38 at Inverness but if I hadn't listened to Craig Brewster regarding fitness I would have been done at 34. It was hard work but very much worth it at the end.
Q)Whats one message you would give to young players today?
A)The one message I would give is just to Work hard, go that extra yard by staying behind and working on weaknesses and enjoy it.
When you are 18/19 you think you will play forever but it's amazing how quick your career can come to an end, either by injury or just age.
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)