Burnbank, Lanarkshire born inside right Willie Rankin began his football career playing for Burnbank Athletic and signed for Scottish League Motherwell in 1917 from Parkhead Juniors. He made his name playing alongside Hughie Ferguson, being selected to represent The Scottish League four times immediately after The First World War. Described as “A schemer, a quick thinker, and considered to be one of the best inside forwards Scotland has produced in the last ten years”, he won his first League cap in a 3-1 defeat to The Football League at St Andrew’s in February 1919, and scored in his next appearance against The Irish League in a 3-0 win at Ibrox in January 1921. He was selected twice more, in February and October 1923, against The Football League in a 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park, and in a 1-0 win over The Irish League in Belfast.
After 56 goals in 259 appearamces for Motherwell, he transferred to Cowdenbeath in 1924 and stayed five years at Central Park during their first seasons as a First Division club, scoring 25 goals in 175 appearances for Cowden. He had a brief spell on loan at Peebles Rovers in 1927, transferring to Clyde in 1929, where he played a further three seasons scoring 12 goals in 84 appearances, joining Montrose in 1932. He finally played for Benoni before his eventual retirement.