IT won’t last long but the Scottish Football Association is at last popular having made what most people regard as a good decision.

Ian Maxwell, chief executive and human punch bag of the bad old SFA, will try to enjoy these rare few days. The people are happy he made Steve Clarke manager of the Scotland national team. Not quite as happy as he is, it must be said.

“We are delighted and the reaction from the news on Monday has been incredible,” admitted Maxwell. “I thought it would go down well. I didn’t think it would go down as well as it has.

“I don’t think anything the SFA has ever done has gone down as well as this. Which is a bit of a first and we will enjoy that while it lasts. We are delighted with him.

“It’s been a great day, an absolutely fantastic day. Steve is the guy we wanted from the outset. To get it over the line is really, really pleasing.

Evening Times:

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“He’s obviously done incredibly well at Kilmarnock. He will have been in demand, he could have stayed where he was and assessed his option to see what pops up. There was talk of clubs down south but he was absolutely desperate to be the Scotland manager and is really happy to be here and really focused on the job ahead.”

Maxwell didn’t have to sell the job to Clarke who had other options including staying at Kilmarnock where he was a king.

He said: “I didn’t have to do too much. He has coached and managed at a really high level and dealt with really high level players throughout his career. But the lure of being a national team coach means a lot to him and it is something which he’s focused on doing.

“I don’t know if that’s just an era thing. For a lot of managers, being the national manager is as good as it gets.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily specific to an era.

“It’s just for any manager to get the chance to manage the national team is a huge honour and he definitely falls into that category.”

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Maxwell’s first year in the top job of Scottish football has not been an easy one. It’s a lot different from his time at Partick Thistle.

The SFA are always under attack. The criticism intensified when it was clear the Alex McLeish regime was failing.

However, the chief executive has enjoyed the past because it has been about actual football.

Maxwell said: “It’s been really interesting. There are elements of my job which are more enjoyable than others. But for a football guy to have a huge say in who the next Scotland manager will be has actually been brilliant. I have loved every minute of it.

“Looking at the candidates, checking out their stats and working out who’s the best one, what one do we want, who has the skill set and what strengths they have has been really enjoyable.

“Hopefully it’s not something I’m doing again for a long, long time because I want to Steve to be the man. I have every confidence he will be. “

Clarke has to get bums on seats. Not bums on the pitch. Hampden as made the Marie Celeste look like Mexico City at rush hour.

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Maxwell said: “I would absolutely love to see a surge in ticket sales for the Cyprus game. The reaction to Steve’s appointment so far has been really, really good. There have been a lot of comments about wanting to come and support the manager.

“It’s a short lead-in time to the Cyprus game. We, and Steve in particular, have a lot of work to do and just a couple of weeks to get there.

“There is a lot of criticism about Uefa’s week of football scheduling with the days and kick-off times sometimes prohibitive when it comes to supporters attending.

“It’s a weekend game this time, albeit with an evening kick-off, but it’s a lot better than it could have been. It would be absolutely brilliant to see Hampden getting back towards full numbers again.”