Donald Park was given a lifetime achievement award for coaching this week, and it’s the most deserved award since Open Goal won 'Best Looking Host' in Vogue last summer. 

I had a smile wider than Slaney's patter when I saw a picture of him accepting his plaque. Not only at him being recognised, but also that he’s still got the balls to don that naughty moustache after all these years. 

He was the guy responsible for the best group of players Hibs have produced. Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson, Gary O’Connor, Derek Riordan, Kenny Miller, Steven Whittaker, Ian Murray, Stephen Dobbie and Steven Fletcher. He also helped bring through Tam McManus, but he can’t get everything right. 

I first met him on a Scotland youth trip where on first look I thought he was the guy who took the bins out the back. Straight away he came over to us and told everyone of us about games we had played and what we done well and where we could improve. I remember thinking he worked for the CID and was tracking Snoddy from the Gallowgate as it seemed he’d seen every game we had played in without any of us ever recognising him. 

He had a great way of interacting with young guys about football and life and could sit for hours joining in the chat and banter although he always went quiet when the conversation got to hair products. We thought we had the nicest guy in the world as our coach until we got on the training ground. He was a madman and it was his voice you could hear from the first minute to the last. 

I know it’s hard to believe with the amount of rubbish I talk, but I've never heard a wee guy make so much noise. He was demanding and straight to the point. You couldn’t help but hang on his every word as every drill was demonstrated like a World Cup final and there were a few occasions I thought he’d end up as bald as the trophy as his sweep-over threatened to blow off while demonstrating a diving header. 

He was massive on doing the basics well. He would give you ideas but say it’s just a guide and if you see it differently on the pitch, then play what you see. He trusted you as the best players in the country to be able to make good decisions on the pitch. We regularly beat bigger countries because he gave you belief you were better than the top players you were up against. 

You could see that with the group he brought through at Hibs. They would come to Celtic and Rangers with a genuine belief they were better than the boys they were facing. They all knew their roles and what was expected of them but had a freedom to go and do what each individual was good at. 

Thomson would fire the ball through your midfield into strikers or look to set up chances with one pass from the middle of the pitch. Brown would drive with the ball with aggression. Both looked to hurt you when they had the ball... but also when you had it! They made the game horrible for their opponent as they smashed into tackles like a pair of centre-halves from the juniors. Even when their game on the ball wasn’t at its best they did the basics and dirty side of the game well. 

Riordan’s first thought was to attack. Get at his full-back and either put a cross in or smoke it in the top corner. When did we last see a young wide player in Scotland with that mentality? They were encouraged to express themselves while knowing if the basics weren’t done well, they would be told there and then. 

Their talent and raw ability wasn’t coached out of them. Parky would regularly remind you of what you were good at and give you the confidence and freedom to go and show it. It wasn’t just Hibs producing players into the first team at that time. Celtic had Maloney, Kennedy, McGeady, McManus, Marshall, Wallace and Beattie. Rangers had it with Ferguson, Mcgregor, Hutton, Adam, Burke, Ross. All of these names went on to play at the top level. Why aren’t we producing these numbers of kids now?  Especially when the standard of first teams isn't as good as when these guys broke through. 

I wonder if coaches now are more interested in systems, formations and philosophies than coaching individuals and the basics of the game. If they would rather a perception of how it looks rather than the bare, hard fact of producing players, which should be the only purpose of an academy. 

The philosophy most clubs have now of playing out from the back at all times is doing kids a dis-service as it’s teaching them there’s only one way to play and takes away from the fact that a big part in football is doing the dirty side of the game well. 

It’s why when they leave big clubs, most struggle to even have a career because real football hits them like a ton of bricks (that I'll go on to lay after I get sacked for this column). 

I hear a lot of buzz words that I don’t think need to be used. 'Gegenpressing' and 'trequartista' - these words are used for the coaches, not for the kids! Imagine Parky using these words with Gaz and Deeks. Any vocabulary outside of Trainspotting would be too much for those two. 

I watch youth teams now and I struggle to see what a specific player is good at. To me they play the same, passing the ball five to 10 yards keeping possession. Young centre midfield players are applauded for there possession stats. What good are these if he hasn’t affected the game? 

Coaches should be able to see the game with their eyes and not rely on stats. I played a game for Celtic under 18s and hadn’t given the ball away. I skipped off the pitch thinking I was Mcstay. Paul, not Willie who was waiting for me to tell me that Tommy wanted to see me up the corner of the pitch. For the 30 yards to Tommy I must have looked like a dug who’s just got the paper (Glasgow Times or Herald of course) for his owner and was waiting to have his belly tickled. My belly wasn’t tickled... but my arse was booted with a size nine Rockport. 

"What was that today? Can you tell me why my best player passed the ball to defenders for 90 minutes? If I wanted them to have the ball I would have played them centre midfield. You played like an old man! I could have got Jimmy (the car park attendant - 70 years old at the time and walked with a limp) to do that. If you're going to play for Celtic, you need more character and personality than that!" 

He could watch a game and tell you there and then where you went wrong and put it in the simplest of ways so you were under no illusion as to what what he meant. He would then help you improve with the same demand and enthusiasm he had when playing for Celtic. I understand the game has moved on, but I just hope the old values are still in place.