Darryl Wood took the gamble of his life to follow his dreams of becoming a basketball coach.

But the Scot reckons he can do more than just survive as Glasgow Rocks rookie boss after soaking up a master class in the art of management from two of football’s finest.

The 29-year-old was handed the job full-time in the summer following a caretaker stint last term but he’ll still be one of the youngest chiefs on the sideline when the new British Basketball League season tips off on Friday.

That’s meant learning on the fly while getting his team up to speed.

Yet an invite to pick the brains of Celtic and ex-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers provided enough top tips to fill a book and it’s left him ready to cope with the pressure coming his way.

Wood said: “The biggest thing I took from talking to Brendan was how he came in and overhauled the whole organisation. He’d tried to influence everything.

“And that was something I took away: He didn’t just come in and coach the team. He tried to drive everything forward. From how the admin staff worked to how the cleaners were. And he had a relationship with every single one of those people.

“Speaking to some of the staff there, he’d made them change their ways in a really positive manner which is very unique. He operated at Liverpool which is a level above Celtic but he wanted to have that influence.

“And from every conversation we’ve had, you see that passion about wanting to achieve.”

It’s not just been the Parkhead supremo that’s got Wood’s brain ticking over – with his personal study plan poring over ideas from rugby and elsewhere.

The biggest eye-opener, he claims, was watching Amazon’s fly on the wall documentary about Manchester City and seeing just how Pep Guardiola had his players jumping through hoops for him.

And he said: “For me watching the series, Pep was phenomenal in his body language, how he related to players. That might just be just the edited highlights but you can’t argue with his success.

“And you do take things away from it. He has a unique balance of demanding a lot from his players but also being for them every step of the way. I’d like to have that here.”

Four years ago, Wood was managing a nightclub in Falkirk but praying a club would give him a chance to call the tune.

Now, he’s got a golden shot to bring trophies to the Emirates Arena in the Rocks 20th season on the court.

A steady job, with decent prospects. Payback for betting on himself when Scottish League outfit Dunfermline Reign handed him a foot on the ladder – but on a bargain basement wage.

And he said: “It was really tough. It’s a long way off highly-paid. Someone hooked me up with a vehicle. Local sponsors supported me.

“But I was living – just. I had to remove some of the extravagance around my life. That led to some build-up of debt. Nothing major.

“The first two years I dropped close to half what I’d been earning as a nightclub manager so those two years were a grind for me in how I lived and get by. But looking back now, it was totally worth it and it’s paying off.”

With a massively revamped squad ready to shoot for the title when the Scots visit London Lions in Friday’s opener, Wood’s hoping he’ll be the one popping the champagne by next summer rather than serving it up.

And he said: “From our chemistry, and the way that we could play, it’s not unrealistic that we’ve recruited well enough to win something this year.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Sunday Mail

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