Hamilton assistant manager John Rankin says head coach Stuart Taylor’s absence hasn’t been ideal – but he’s enjoyed being the leading man at New Douglas Park.
Covid isolation forced Taylor into missing Saturday’s 0-0 Championship draw with Raith Rovers, and is set to miss tonight’s rescheduled league game with leaders Arbroath too.
It’s meant Rankin – who joined the Championship club at the end of last year – has been the face of Hamilton’s players have looked to on the training pitch and in matches.
Rankin says the Hamilton boss hasn’t left his phone at peace over the period he has been stuck in the house. But the players haven’t been too impacted by the upheaval.
It’s the Accies head coach the disruption is having more of an impact on: “I feel as if I have been on the phone to Stuart every 10 minutes from when it first happened. We will take things as they come to us.
“I don’t think so (that Taylor will return for Arbroath). I’m waiting for confirmation, but as it stands, it looks like it.
“It’s probably more difficult and frustrating for him rather than the players, as he still wants to get his individual message across to each individual player.
“It’s been frustrating for him but the players, not much for them changes as they are still expected to go out and do a job. They know their responsibilities.”
Rankin has only been in senior coaching a matter of months, having started his journey within the youth ranks at Hearts. But stepping up has been an easy transition for him after a playing career at the top of Scottish football.
Becoming a boss in his own right is a future goal, but that isn’t on his mind just now: “It’s a different voice in the changing room and on the training pitch, but the players know what to do.
“I’ve been impressed with them since I came in and their levels of professionalism. That hasn’t changed through this.
“It’s difficult when your manager isn’t there. It’s an ambition of my own (to be a manager) but we have a quick turnaround of games where we are an important member of staff down.
“So it’s trying to get everything sorted for the players. But they have everything they need.”
A trip to Gayfield will prove difficult for Hamilton, and Rankin knows it. Dick Campbell’s part-time side tops the otherwise full-time league and their fairytale season is something Accies are wary of.
Taylor’s number two added: “I heard a few things from Arbroath (fans) against Kilmarnock the other night saying ‘nobody likes us, we don’t care.’
“I don’t think that could be further from the truth. Everybody is loving what they are doing at the moment. Everybody wants them to win so it’s our responsibility to put a spanner in the works.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.