BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Dundee United midfielder John Rankin reckons the League Cup revamp is great news for the part-time ranks after claiming that some players are forced to work for nothing during pre-season.
The 32-year-old, who also holds the position of PFA Scotland chairman, admits he is aware that some of his peers do not get paid until the competitive campaign officially begins.
However, that is set to change at the start of next term under plans announced by the SPFL, with League Cup group stage matches to replace friendlies for the final two weeks of July.
Rankin said: “The part-time players’ contracts don’t start at pre-season, these guys are asked to go out on a Tuesday night, a Wednesday night, a Thursday night and if there’s no game on a Saturday they’re doing a double session.
“They don’t get paid, they don’t get paid until the season starts. That’s when their contract starts.
“For these part-time players, it’s a great boost for our game.
“I’ve spoken to a few over the phone, I’ve got a few mates that are a wee bit older now and have dropped down the leagues and playing part-time. They’re excited about it as well because they see extra income for their families throughout this time.”
On a personal level, former Manchester United trainee Rankin has given the new-look competition the thumbs up.
He added: “I am really positive about the product. I think it will improve our game and listening to the players in the dressing room, there was a lot of excitement.
“It’s something new. If they regionalise it then great, and if we play Dundee in the first round, great.
“I don’t think it will be classed as a pre-season friendly.
“It was great when you were young doing pre-season and you went away for ten days, worked hard and got a wee bit of spirit.
“When you’re older the meaningless games become horrible.”