The die-hard Rangers fan heading to the States this Summer
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
We speak to Raptors winger Callum Skilling about his short but productive time with the Raptors and plans for the future.
Tell us about where you are from and a little about you.
I am from Scotland, a small town (Girvan) where everyone knows everyone...a bit different to Prague. It is just an over an hour south of Glasgow, by the sea with nice countryside
I like to go out and try new things, get out of my comfort zone and meet new people.
How is the football like in where you are from?
We have a local team called Ayr, so them and Kilmarnock are the bigger teams in the region...but my Dad is a Rangers fan and his Dad too, it's in my blood, so of course I am a Rangers fan.
The non-league style is fairly similar to Czech Republic, very physical. There is maybe a bit more football played in the games at the same level in Scotland, perhaps more lazy players but good technically.
The team I was at before the Raptors back home was pretty similar standard, but of course it is very different - going from a team full of Scots to the Raptors where I am the only Scottish person there.
When did you start playing?
When I was really young, I was always kicking a ball about with my Dad.
I joined my first team around 7 or 8, with my friends from school who invited me along to training. It was the local team, Girvan youth...we only had 1 team in the town so it was an easy choice which team to join.
I started initially as a striker and then I had this fantasy of playing in nets when I was about 10 or 11. I did that for a couple of years but our team was really good, winning 10-0 in lots of games, and it was freezing up in Scotland so I was just stood around, after a bit I had enough and went back outfield
What kind of player are you?
I like to get on the ball, try and create things, make things happen - even if I am a striker, I like to link up with the central midfielders and wingers.
I don't play central much but I actually really enjoy that, seeing the game in front of you, spotting runs and passing...I'd say passing is one of the strongest parts of my game. But, nothing beats the feeling of scoring a goal, everyone jumping on you and congratulating you, it's obviously a great feeling that.
You scored a few this season - do you have any favorite goals?
Yeah, it was just a tap-in but the goal that put us 3-2 up against Zlichov...it was obviously good to come back from 2-0 down against top of the table, and down to 10 men after Aris got sent off. That was my first game for the B team so a great way to start it. It was a long time before that I had played so was a great feeling to score that.
Which players do you look up to?
Of course, as a Rangers fan it is Alfredo Morelos - he is the main striker and very physical. The first thing on his mind is always to shoot and try and score. He misses some but he has that mentality of keep going, I really love that.
Away from Rangers I like Cavani, his movement and how he makes space for himself. Just by watching him you can learn a lot.
When I was growing up Nacho Novo was my favorite - he was quick, fast and loved a goal. Kris Boyd too, was a great striker too who just kept going all game.
What about the players from before that time, Gascoigne, Laudrup, McCoist?
I know a lot about that team, my Dad had a season ticket at Rangers during those years so I hear all about them. He has got the framed pictures on the wall still of those players. I've seen a lot of highlights of that era but it's more relatable with the guys who I actually grew up watching.
How do you think the Raptors are doing this season?
I think we have had a lot of re-shaping, especially in the B team - the new structure had really started to click and we were playing well, before covid came in. I think if we carry on the season we will be right up there. Obviously the A team are doing fantastic as well and have a good chance to go up.
Do you have players on the pitch you really like to play with?
I really like playing with Mauri on the wing, linking up with him. I really like big Valentin at the back too, he is solid. There are loads really, Muj & Muhaab in the middle too, they are really good. Peter also, especially if I am on the left, he always tries to ping balls up to me, always looking for a forward pass - I like when people play positive.
How about your plans, you will be leaving soon right?
Yeah, it is still a little unknown because of covid but I am planning to go to the States, so I am just waiting on what will happen. I had hoped to get a full season under my belt at the Raptors but I am not sure if that will happen now. Maybe if we start again next month I will get another game or 2.
I plan to go to Summer camp in the States. I did it in 2019 and it was amazing - I made great friends and it was definitely one of the best times I have had. It is in Pennsylvania on a beautiful lake with 400 acres of nature around. It is like a small village when we are there - with a big mix of international staff, from UK, Ireland, Australia & all over the place. It helps if you have any kind of home sickness if there are people from your country too.
After that we will see what happens. I plan to be back in Prague one day, whether to live or visit. For sure I will be back to see a Raptors game sometime.
Do you plan to keep teaching?
I think when I leave Prague that will be the end of me teaching - I've enjoyed it but I don't like to stay in one place too long.
My long term goal is to join the Royal Air Force as a linguist. My Mum & Dad obviously want me to do that soon but I am enjoying my traveling for now. My Mum & Dad's friend was in the RAF and he told me all about it and there is a big traveling aspect so for me to work and travel is a big thing.
What else do you for fun?
Traveling is a big part of my life - seeing new cultures and understanding languages. A lot of my spare time is put into learning languages, I am doing Spanish & French and recently started Italian as well. I enjoy speaking to people from those countries, not just learning the language but the culture too.
Also in my free time I do video editing - it is something I have done done for 7 years. The creative aspect of it and expressing yourself through editing is something I really enjoy.
When I am not doing that I play a lot of Xbox with my friends, I play Fifa with a couple of friends from back home, they are Rangers fans too.
I also like going out with friends for beers, just hanging out - not big parties but just having fun and a few drinks.
Quick fire questions:
Ronaldo or Messi?
Ronaldo is a better athlete, but Messi is an all round better player
Scotland or Czech Republic?
Well, obviously I love Scotland, the culture. I love Prague and all the nationalities that are here, but overall Scotland.
Beer or Wine?
Beer 100%, I cannot drink wine at all - I just don't like the taste. The beer here is good of course.
Beach or Ski holidays?
Beach for sure, of course the sun is limited in Scotland so whenever I can get a bit of sunshine I love it, shorts and t-shirt weather all day.
Follower or Leader?
I wouldn't say I am a proper leader, but I am far from a sheep...I am more of a lone wolf type.