EVERYONE who works in football, whether that be a player or a coach, will have someone they look up to and try to emulate.
Few, however, will be able to look up to their own father as a beacon of what is possible, but Rangers’ goalkeeping coach Colin Stewart can do exactly that.
Stewart senior, Jim, is very much the doyenne of goalkeeping coaches in Scottish football, doing so much work to train up the next generation while continuing his role as the national side’s goalkeeping coach.
He was also in charge of the goalkeeping department at Rangers for over 10 years, seeing and experiencing the club through some of their highest and lowest points.
Stewart junior knows he has a lot to live up to, but he is willing to give it a bash – even if it does result in some endless teasing from his ‘old man.’
“If I am still involved in the game 25 years down the line,” began Colin, speaking to RangersTV in Spain, “then I will have achieved something. The old man has been fantastic for my career, although I have been taking dogs’ abuse all summer, especially from him!
“But he was the first to phone me and congratulate me when the change happened last year, and he is a constant there by my side for advice.
“I think almost every goalkeeping coach who has been through the process in Scotland will have lent on the old man for advice, and I am just so thankful he is there and I can do it from a family point of view and from a footballing point of view.
“Certainly, the success he has had in football, if I can get anywhere close to that, I will be delighted.”
Stewart began the role of first-team goalkeeping coach initially on a caretaker basis last October, having previously been head of Academy goalkeeping.
He therefore has an extensive knowledge of the ‘keepers at the club from top to bottom, and is excited with the talent the club has in that position in the youth set-up.
“The goalkeeping structure that was put-in under the old man, there was a real emphasis on recruiting young goalkeepers.
“The talent ID process looks for the physique and the technical attributes to be in the position, and we have been extremely blessed with a talented crop of young goalkeepers.
“There is a void at the moment because of where the club has been, but Robby is pushing on now and is needing to go on now and get that experience of first-team football.
“He did it last year, and the young ones coming through, we want that. We are a club who are challenging and want to win trophies at every age group.
“The young ones are challenging to be youth internationalists and full-time football players at Rangers. I am excited by that young group, but they still have a lot of games to be played in their development whether that be at part-time or full-time clubs.
“On that, we are starting to build the contacts at these teams, which is great. Robby went out last year while Liam Kelly had two loan-moves which has given him the platform to move on and hopefully continue his development as well.
“We just hope that conveyor belt keeps going. It is an exciting time for the young goalkeepers, but we are still a long way away from them challenging the goalkeepers at the top.”
Joining the first-team goalkeeping pool for pre-season training in Spain is Robby McCrorie, who spent last season on-loan at Berwick Rangers.
Working alongside Allan McGregor, Wes Foderingham and Jak Alnwick, all four are pushing each other to the maximum, which Stewart is thrilled to see.
He added: “The one thing, from me moving up from the Academy, is the standard they set and them working really hard on the basics.
“They do the basics really, really well and that is the one thing Robby is finding. He is a really hardworking young goalkeeper, and he is learning from the best.
“They challenge each other, and if Robby gets 10 clean catches then Wes will want 10 clean catches and Jak will want it and Allan will want it.
“That is the fight and the competition that goalkeepers thrive on. Their attitude to training has been excellent, and that is what we are looking for.”