HIS coaching career has come full circle and Malky Thomson finds himself back in familiar surroundings once again. He is older, wiser and has life experiences as well as football ones to pass on to those under his guidance.

As he has dotted across the country and around the globe, a stop off at Rangers has never been far away for the 50-year-old. Now he is settled and has another new position as Head of the Intermediate Academy.

He can count Celtic, Hibernian, Inverness and Dundee United as previous clubs in Scotland from yesteryear, while he also had a youth role at Birmingham City. There were stints with Limerick and Al-Alhi before a switch to Blackpool to work with Barry Ferguson, as he did at Clyde a couple of years ago.

Thomson now finds himself back in blue once again. This time, he is arguably even better prepared and qualified as he looks to inspire the next generation of Ibrox stars.

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“I have been really fortunate in that I have had the chance to work at a number of different levels,” he told SportTimes. “I started off way back working with the SFA and learned how to put a session together and make sure there is a flow to it and a theme to it.

“I think you progress on and I was fortunate to get the chance to go and coach at 18s, Reserves and then go into first team level.

“For me, my journey has gone full circle and I am at an age where I am confident in terms of everything about football and what it does take to get to a first team.

“I think it is good for the kids to have a coach that has got a bit of experience, that has been at every level and understands it.

“It is not just understanding you have to be great to play first team football, there are other attributes that make you a well-rounded individual.”

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Of the myriad of coaching positions that adorn Thomson’s CV, there is one – his season in charge of Indian outfit Salgaocar – that stands out. It was brief, but it was memorable.

The local cuisine and culture took some time for Thomson to become accustomed to, while differing strategies at a community-focused club meant it was best for both parties to ultimately go their separate ways.

“It was a strange one,” Thomson said. “I got offered the job out in Goa with a team called Salgaocar and it was too good an opportunity for me to turn down.

“I had already worked in Asia, I was in Dubai for a number of years with David O’Leary and Roy Aitken, so to get the chance to go to India, I thought ‘what a great opportunity, let’s go and see what it is about’.

“The experience I gained from working in Asia was great so it gave me confidence to go in there and it was a fantastic opportunity. It definitely taught me a lot about myself.

“You go out there and you are on your own so you have got to make friends and acquaintances and contacts.

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“You have to work with the players and find a balance, a common denominator between them and you to get your message across. It was a really good experience and one that definitely helps me in this role.”

That focus has shifted slightly in recent weeks after a reshuffle at the Hummel Training Centre but the ultimate ambition remains the same no matter what level Thomson or his fellow coaches operate at.

The likes of Peter Lovenkrands and Kevin Thomson also have key roles for the Light Blues as Rangers look to produce their own stars of the future. The person is as important as the player.

“There is definitely a balance,” Thomson said. “We have got to create a pathway for each player and each player is an individual.

“We are not centred on winning, although of course that is important and when you get to a level you have got to have that winning mentality. But, lower down, it is about developing players, so it is player-centric and everything is about improving that player and getting that player ready to be able to cope when they go into an environment where they have to win.

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“The younger age groups, it is about dignity and if you do win then there is a way of handling yourself. Similarly, if you get beat or you don’t play well, it is how you conduct yourself. That is the life skills that we are trying to help the kids with.”

His time on the training pitch and the touchline has given Thomson the chance to work with managers and coaches of varying different styles, personalities and abilities.

None are a bigger name than the man whose squad every kid at Auchenhowie wants to earn a place in, however. That, of course, is Steven Gerrard.

“I think there is a trust that he gives everybody, and you have obviously got to give him that in return and be capable of doing the job,” Thomson said. “It is good that we can put our own ideas into the curriculum we have got.

“He has been very good in terms of doing a bit of professional development and they are big on that at Rangers, it is not just a case of you find your own pathway and away you go.

“We are continually developing as a staff, monitoring and evaluating. The manager has come in with his staff and gave a talk to the players and then some sessions were delivered to the staff on how they coach and their style, so it was great to have that backing.”

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* Rangers Academy coach Malky Thomson is pictured promoting Rangers Pools for the Rangers Youth Development Company.

To sign up for Rangers Pools visit www.rangerspools.com or download the new app at Apple or Android stores.

All profits go towards the upkeep and maintenance of Ibrox Stadium – while profits from their other products are donated to the Rangers Youth Department.

RYDC recently made a donation of £400,000 to the Rangers Academy taking their contribution to almost £8 million since 2002.

For full details on their portfolio – Rangers Lotto, Rangers Pools, Rising Stars, Scratchcards, Stadium Bricks and the Youth Members Club – visit www.rydc.co.uk or call 0141 427 4914.