RANGERS assistant manager Gary McAllister was last week inducted into the prestigious North Lanarkshire Sporting Hall of Fame.
An area famed for creating world-class talent across a variety of different sports, McAllister attended an induction ceremony at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Centre last Monday evening to receive his award and view a huge panel of his achievements which has been created within the main corridor of the facility.
McAllister grew up in Newarthill and attended Braidhurst High School, and spoke of his pride as he collected his award, telling us: “It is a fantastic honour and I am very proud to have been asked to come and accept this award. My roots are very firmly in this vicinity where we are stood now.
“I was brought up not far from here, went to Kier Hardie Primary in Newarthill and then went down to Braidhurst, played at Fir Park Boys’ Club, played at Motherwell early in my career and was a member at Bellshill Golf Club.
“So I have loads of sporting memories, and my dad worked here at Ravenscraig Steel Works on the land we are standing on now where this beautiful facility is.
“If you look at the guys who are in this Hall of Fame, there is a lot of ability from this part of Scotland.
“When you look in our sport of football, most of the players come from working-class backgrounds, and none more-so than from here.
“There is a lot of regeneration taking place here with the steelworks away, but it is still very much a working-class area.
“It has always been a hotbed, certainly for football players.”
McAllister’s early career at local club Motherwell saw him work under the management of the legendary Jock Wallace, who, of course, is an iconic figure at Ibrox.
The disciplines instilled in McAllister by Wallace in the early 1980s remain the same today, with McAllister adding: “I can remember way back when I was maybe 16 or 17, and there were only two apprentices at Motherwell, Junior Burns and myself.
“We were cleaning all the boots, sweeping the terraces, cleaning toilets and whatever else. And he grabbed the pair of us, and it was quite scary when Jock Wallace grabbed you in the corridors of Fir Park as they are not that big.
“And he told us; ‘see the pair of you, if you don’t play for Scotland I will kick your backsides all over that Knowetop End at Fir Park.’
“So I took his words on board!”