A former Dundee United physiotherapist who was head-hunted by Jim McLean is retiring after an almost 50-year career.
Dave Rankine, 67, has spent time travelling the world for his job, before opening Rankine Physiotherapy in Dundee.
Working with the Team GB hockey team, Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, as well as spending a decade providing physio at Dundee United, Mr Rankine has worked across the globe.
After spending two years in Vancouver, Canada, after he newly qualified, Mr Rankine worked with the British hockey Olympic team, saying that not making it to the Olympics was his “one big regret”.
Mr Rankine was working with the team when Moscow was due to host the Olympics in 1980, when a number of countries boycotted the sporting event, due to the then Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
After working around the UK with the NHS for a few years, he then travelled to Saudi Arabia in 1987, spending just over a year with Al Nassr FC.
“Saudi was totally different”, he recalled.
“We did most of our training in the evenings as it was so hot during the day. I was based in Riyadh which is bang in the centre of the desert.
“So, it was a good experience but one that I wouldn’t repeat. They’re a difficult nation to work for, shall we say.
“I was meant to be there for two years but the manager Billy Bingham, he was fired, and they asked me to stay on.
“I agreed to it, but when I was the only British one left there, they tried to change my contract.
“There were all sorts of ramifications from that which involved the British Embassy, so eventually I got out of there and didn’t go back. It was definitely an experience.”
Joining Dundee United
Mr Rankine found himself head-hunted by Dundee United manager turned chairman Jim McLean, while working in Aberdeen.
Mr Rankine said: “My first memory of Jim McLean was during the interview.
“He had the club doctor there and the other physio interviewing me and he had his foot up on the desk cleaning his teeth during the interview. He was quite a character.
“The thing is, he was 100% Dundee United. He wanted everyone else to work as hard as he did. We got on okay because I put a lot of hours in. It was seven days a week.
“We had our run ins every now and then, but got on okay. Anything I needed, that I could justify for the player’s needs, he always said don’t skimp on the price, go for what’s good.
“He was always fine with me. He was a great man away from the club.
“But get him involved in football and he was tunnel visioned. Hard man to work for. It was a topsy-turvey time though.”
Mr Rankine joined the club in February 1994, just months before their Scottish Cup win against Rangers.
He called it “quite the introduction”, saying: “It was a great atmosphere.
“My first game with Dundee United happened to be in the cup against Arbroath, with a horizontal wind, gale-force, pouring rain, wondering what I’d got myself into.
“But it was a good season and the atmosphere at the end was tremendous – the open top bus and going round in that. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Memories of the club
Mr Rankine said the 10 years he spent at the club were filled with fond memories.
He recalled a trip to Malaysia for a tournament, saying: “They always say that footballers aren’t the most intelligent people.
“We flew to Malaysia on a pre-season tour to play in a tournament and we were getting off the plane.
“One of the players behind me – who shall remain nameless – said ‘God it’s awfully hot here – is that the same sun we’ve got?’
“I thought he was joking, but he was deadly serious. There were some good times.”
He added: “Ivan Golac was totally different from Jim – so laid back. I remember in Malaysia he let me and the head coach take the training one day, so he could stay by the pool.
“He let the lads go for a drink on Friday night, as long as they were sensible. It was good times.
“There were bad times with relegations – but overall, it was a good time.”
In 2003, Mr Rankine decided to part ways with the club to open his own business, Rankine Physiotherapy, based in Dundee.
He said: “The decision was pushed as I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the manager we had at the time, so I thought it was the right time to move.
“I worried at first because I wasn’t sure how it would take off.
“But having had the football connection, whether you’re good or bad, people think you’re good because of the football. So it took off quite quickly.”
Lockdown sped up his decision to retire, with the clinic passing on to his colleague Vicki Low.
He said he was looking forward to a quiet retirement, saying: “To be honest, there’s nothing really left on my bucket list. I’ve lectured world-wide, I’m a qualified educator, I’ve done all the things I wanted to do in that respect.
“After 50 years, the experiences I’ve had – probably my one regret is not making it to the Olympics. But no regrets otherwise.”