Malky Thomson/Alan Boyd RYDC Q&A

Rangers Academy coaches Malky Thomson and Alan Boyd took part in an exclusive Q&A session on the Rangers Youth Development Company Twitter account (@rfc_rydc) recently.

Malky, who helped guide the Rangers under 17s to Glasgow Cup Final glory last year, has a new role as Head of Intermediate Academy with a focus on under 13s to under 15s while Alan is Head of Children’s Academy at the club.

Since 2002, RYDC profits have been directed to Rangers Football Club’s youth programme – with almost £8 million provided so far.

And in January, Academy Head Craig Mulholland and youth graduate Glenn Middleton accepted an RYDC donation of £400,000.

For full details on RYDC’s growing portfolio of products – the re-launched Rangers Pools, Rangers Lotto, Rising Stars, Scratchcards, Stadium Bricks and the Youth Members Club – visit or call 0141 427 4914.

Q – 4 Lads Had A Dream – What is the most important factor both on & off the field, when bringing through young players? 

MT -Would not really put it down to one factor on and off the field, but at Rangers to become a first team player you must have desire and be driven. This takes a lot of dedication.

AB – It’s always about their desire and attitude to succeed. The perfect example of that in the last few years is Ross McCrorie 

Q – 4 Lads Had A Dream – How do you keep a youngster focused on football away from the pressure & temptation of outside world?

MT – Pressure and temptation are always around every player at all ages including first team. At Rangers we hope that the academy values practiced daily will help players and parents to make proper informed decisions. 

AB – All the staff and support staff have life experience along with qualifications and training which we can bring into practice as early intervention can make a difference.

Q – Lisa Weir – What are your plans for the teams you have in the academy Malky with your new role? 

MT – I hope to continue the good work which Steven has done. Each team services player pathway. We are constant in our player development and I will work alongside the coaches and support staff to maintain the best possible improvement for all the players through our program

Q – Lisa Weir – What would you change? What wouldn’t you change?

MT – Our programme is continually improving along with the development of our staff. This is done through analysis along with monitoring and of course the evidence of players improvement.  Every session is detailed delivered and has an outcome which we use to ensure we have hit our goals achieving the best development for the players individual and collective.

Q – Alan Cane – Our son is 11yrs old, he has had fantastic feedback on his abilities, how quickly he learns and been described as an elite player. Should he be in a pro youth set up at this age or keep working hard with his local team hopefully to be spotted? 

MT – It is hard to comment on what is best for your son without fully understanding all the facts surrounding him at present.

There are so many factors involved. Both the pro youth and the boys clubs do good jobs in their own right. The most important thing is your sons wellbeing happiness and love of the game. If you can help him maintain these three things he will eventually find his own pathway within the game.

Q – Bobby Gordon – Does building a winning mentality within the youth set up conflict with player development?

MT – I think every player wants to win. At Rangers we try to build growth mindsets and teach the players how to conduct themselves with dignity both in winning and losing.

AB – Creating a winning mentality is a positive thing to do but more importantly as we have said it’s also how to deal with setbacks in order to develop as a player and a human being.

Q – Gerrard Express – what does the club do to lay out a pathway to the first team for younger players? And has this changed since Mark Allen/Stevie Gerrard were appointed?

MT – The youth players all have individual programmes and targets. This process details how they are to achieve improvement and how we are going to monitor this improvement. 

AB – We are fortunate that both the manager and their coaching staff have delivered continual professional development sessions for all our youth development staff and this helps us in our delivery to the players.

Q – Colin – Working as a coach at the RFC Academy is great because?

MT – Working at Rangers allows all the staff to demonstrate coaching and interpersonal skills in a controlled environment with a structure and process to guide us

AB – For me, It is about working with young people and helping them deal with different life experiences. It is a privilege to work at Rangers. 

Q – Colin – What is your favourite age group to coach and why?

MT – I don’t have a preference as I have experience at all levels from youth to first team. The enjoyment is a privilege

AB – I don’t have a preference but working at the Children’s Academy is a fun environment to be involved in. The kids are all eager to learn. I’ve been fortunate enough to work at all levels at the club and I am delighted to pass on my experience. 

Q – Colin – Who would you rather work with – A talented lazy player or a hard working player with limited talent? 

MT – Both examples of players require different needs and methods. The challenge is something I enjoy. What I do know is the hard work will beat talent when talent does not work hard. Combining both can make a real special player

Q – Greig Kirk – Mr Boyd where did you learn your trade, coaching youths? I hear you were a semi decent player in your time, what clubs did you play for?

AB – I started with the SFA and my boys club Castleglen. I was also at Clyde, Hamilton then was asked to join Rangers. I have been at the club about 15 years and it is an honour to work here every day

Q – Rab – Malky, apart from you, who is the second best coach at Hummel & who makes the best cuppa?

MT – Well I know who is not the 2nd best coach and I can make the best cuppa

Q – Jeff – Do we have any future Ballon D’Or winners?

MT – Well I hope that all the players believe they are capable of reaching Ballon D’Or achievement

Q – Colin – Who would eat a fish supper faster?

MT – There is no 2nd PLAICE for me as I would BATTER all the minnows to win this one

Q – Colin McMullin – Malky is your hair still blonde like it was when you played for the 1st Linwood boys brigade and the RYC or turning a wee bit grey lol blast from the past mate 

It’s a Linwood thing – still got a full head of hair. Although it is grey.

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