John Rankin accuses Dundee United team-mates of downing tools

John Rankin spoke to the press ahead of tomorrow's clash with Hearts. Picture: SNS
John Rankin spoke to the press ahead of tomorrow's clash with Hearts. Picture: SNS
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Dundee United midfielder John Rankin admits some players need to stop “downing tools” when things go against them.

Rankin believes the squad has not been giving enough this season, whether it be certain players letting their heads drop, or others losing focus because of problems around them.

Is everyone giving 100 per cent?’ There will be certain individuals look in the mirror and probably say, ‘no’, they aren’t.

John Rankin

The 32-year-old accepted chairman Stephen Thompson’s criticism following their midweek defeat by Motherwell, which left them with 14 Ladbrokes Premiership points, 13 adrift of second-bottom Kilmarnock, and urged every player to get behind the cause when Hearts visit Tannadice on Saturday.

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“Performances have not been near good enough,” Rankin said. “We need to look ourselves in the mirror and question: ‘Is everyone giving 100 per cent?’ There will be certain individuals look in the mirror and probably say, ‘no’, they aren’t.

“Why that’s not the case I don’t know but for the next 13 games in the league, we need to give more than 100 per cent.

“Every single player in that dressing room, whether you are starting or on the bench or even in the stand, everyone needs to get together and be behind one another.

“There’s only one way to get out of it and that’s to go and win games. Yeh, it’s extremely difficult. We are probably needing a miracle if we’re being honest but will we stop trying? No, of course we won’t.

“We’re determined to get points, not only to preserve our Premiership status, but the points total at the moment is embarrassing.”

When quizzed on his assertion about a lack of commitment, the former Inverness player said: “There will be players in there that will wholly admit that things are not going their way and, when it is that way, they will down tools. That’s just human nature.

“We need strength of character, people that are going to stand up and fight. We need every player giving 100 per cent. Letting your head drop is not acceptable. When we go a goal down or two goals down, we need to keep fighting until the final whistle.

“You try and grab players by the scruff of the neck, of course you notice that happens in football. Heads do go down.

“In our mindset we are giving 100 per cent but more often than not we are suffering from a set-piece, and somebody’s head goes down and you are maybe not 100 per cent focused because you are trying to drag someone else with you.

“Our minds are going elsewhere and maybe our performances are not 100 per cent because boys are worried about things that are going on. Because it’s affecting us all, this will affect livelihoods.”

Thompson claimed the United players had 13 games left to redeem their professional reputations.

Rankin said: “The chairman’s entitled to his opinion, he owns the club. It’s his prerogative to say what he wants and he has done that.

“I don’t see any particular harm with regards what he has said about performances, because everyone knows performances haven’t been up to scratch. I don’t have a problem with one man’s opinion. I don’t think anyone could argue with what he said.”

And Rankin does not believe Thompson’s comments will have a negative effect.

“I don’t think anyone would throw in the towel,” he said. “Being criticised by anyone should galvanise you, should make you want to prove a point and right now the tools are not packed away.

“We have a point to prove. We need to keep fighting and any bit of criticism, anything we can use as motivation, we will use that.”

But he added: “If we need (to be) galvanised there is something wrong with us. We have a motivation, we need to get ourselves out of this.”

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