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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 10:14 GMT
Rankin takes young player award
John Rankin was compared to Billy Bremner and Archie Gemmill as he picked up a young player of the month award.

The diminutive winger had starred for Ross County at the weekend as the First Division side outplayed Celtic for much of their Scottish Cup tie before losing 2-0 in Glasgow.

And manager Alex Smith told the Daily Mirror: "John is not big, but he is strong and skilful.

"He is a dynamo like Bremner and Archie Gemmill.

Rankin celebrated being voted Bell's young player of the month in the Scottish Football League during December by showing his potential against the Premier League leaders.

Aberdeen thought he was too wee
County boss Alex Smith
"He was outstanding at Celtic Park," said Smith.

"He has already come on and played well for Scotland at under-20 level and he has a good future in the game.

"The lad was playing in the Manchester United reserve side when he was only 19, but both Alex Ferguson and Brian McClair felt that he would have difficulty forcing his way into their first-team and it would better for him to come up to Scotland to gain experience.

"Motherwell were interested, but they were in administration and could not take him.

"Aberdeen thought he was too wee, but I knew from Largs that he was a good player."

Rankin helped County maintain their promotion challenge in Division One during December.

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