Darren Young shares Rangers baptism of fire as Stirling Albion boss says chasing Gazza and Laudrup left him sick in the shower

Darren Young was SICK in the showers and nearly passed out after his first visit to Ibrox as a player.

And on Friday night, he hopes his Stirling Albion players will feel equally exhausted when he returns as manager to face Rangers.

The former Aberdeen midfielder only took charge of Binos last month after leaving East Fife in November.

But this week the League Two side will have the chance to impress live on TV in their Scottish Cup clash against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.

Young played against the Dutchman on several occasions when he was at Pittodrie.

But a few years before, after the Dons drew 2-2 against Walter Smith’s men, the teenager was a wreck after coming up against Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup.

Now Young wants his part-timers at Albion to show the same kind of desire and work-rate that left him puking in the locker room at Ibrox.

Ahead of the draw on Friday, he told Mailsport: “It will be my first time at Ibrox as a manager and I played against Giovanni back then so it will be strange to be in the dugout this time.

“He was a top quality player, bordering on world class. Look at the teams he played for. It was hard to get close to him on the pitch.

“But I have never been put off by the big names in the opposition.

“I got a boost trying to prove myself against the best, especially in front of big crowds.

“I worked as hard as I could on the pitch. My first game at Ibrox for Aberdeen was in 1996 when I was just 17.

“They had Gazza and Laudrup in the squad and we drew 2-2.

“I thought I was going to score the equalizer late but Billy Dodds snatched that away from me!

“But I came out completely exhausted and felt sick.

Darren Young is the new boss of Stirling Albion

“I threw up afterwards. The physios gave me sugar because I felt so weak.

“I just sat there in the shower, totally goose. But I was buzzing because I was 17 and had just gotten a draw at Ibrox. A year ago, I was still in school.

“It was a taste for me and it shouldn’t be any different for our players on Friday night.

“We will deal with it, obviously, but we cannot feel inferior to Rangers. We’re going to be tough to beat, but I want us to create chances.

“I know the players will knock their pans over.

“We had to mix training with the Friday night game. And a few of our boys have to change their shifts.

“I’m pretty sure Rangers will have rest and recovery days with good massages.

“But some of our guys will be working on a construction site – maybe even on game morning.

“I’m going to work in the real estate agencies on Friday as well before getting ready to go to Ibrox.”

Darren Young celebrates with the Ligue 2 trophy

For the first time in 26 years, Young found himself out of the game during the festive season after being sacked by East Fife.

But 29 days without football was too much and, given his record at New Bayview and Albion Rovers before that, it’s no surprise he’s back.

He said: “Having 29 days out was weird.

“What do people do on a Saturday at 3 p.m. without it? That was the question I was asking myself.

“It’s ingrained in you. I love football, I’ve had it all my life.

“But I took a step back. Obviously, I felt a little less pressure on me during those 29 days.

“And it was good to spend time with the family around Christmas.

“But I was always checking teams and scores on a Saturday.

“Any manager out of work will look at who starts, who comes off the bench, who is out of favor.

“Because you never know when the next opportunity will come.”

Young promoted Albion Rovers to League One and earned a dream Scottish Cup draw against Celtic.

In East Fife they consistently fought for the play-offs on a shoestring, reached the last 16 in the Cup and beat local rivals Raith Rovers.

He thinks he deserves another chance and is excited about Forthbank’s potential.

The 43-year-old said: “I understood East Fife’s position. They were looking for a change or a spark to get them out of the position they were in.

“But the season has been difficult for us. We lost Ryan Wallace and Mark McGuigan, two of the best forwards in the league.

“Immediately, our first two were gone. Then we had injuries, like Ross Davidson and Danny Swanson.

“One week we had nine players out, with Covid on top.

“If the Cove Rangers lost Mitch Megginson or Rory McAllister, they would struggle.

“So taking five or six out of the East Fife side is going to have an impact.

“Once you’re in a rut, players lose confidence.

“I questioned everything because for four years I had been successful.

“We missed the play-offs on goal difference, which was a real gutter.

“But for three weeks, we played Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday after confinement.

“For part-time players who have a job, it was ridiculous.

“Can you imagine asking Rangers or Celtic, with full-time players, to do that? It was an absolute joke.

“I always felt like I could turn around. But I got messages from experienced managers, who said I was a good manager now that I was fired.

“Every season I’ve been manager, I’ve interviewed for a full-time position. It proves that I have to do something right.

“I don’t need people telling me my record is good.”

Young’s aim is to get out of the bottom tier of Scottish football, but he’s determined to take advantage of Ibrox first.

He said: “It’s a huge game for us, especially with fans.

“Playing in a stadium like this will be a great experience for the players.

“And financially it’s huge for the club.”