THERE have been some cruel wags who have poked fun at SFA President Alan McRae’s faux pas at yesterday’s unveiling of ‘new’ Scotland manager Alex McLeish, when he recalled being appointed chairman of Big Eck’s testimonial committee “in season 1888-89”.

It was an easy mistake to make in all fairness when you consider he is the head of an organisation that still operates like a Victorian Gentlemen’s Club.

Some have suggested that the SFA are stuck back in 2007 with the appointment of McLeish for a second stint in charge of the national side, but it is hard to make a case that they are quite that progressive.

It seemed astonishing at first when the initial news filtered through that McRae would not be fielding questions from the press regarding his handling of a recruitment process that resembled the journey of a piece of chewing gum through the human body, in that it seemed to take about seven years, was difficult to digest, and what came out at the end was less than palatable. But after hearing the bumbling ineptitude of his prepared remarks, perhaps it wasn’t so surprising that he was shielded from scrutiny.

But here’s the rub. Surely it is unhealthy for any organisation, particularly a member’s organisation, to avoid difficult questions and rigorous examination when so many of those with a stake in the fortunes of the national team have serious concerns about the way the recruitment process was handled?

It is easy to have a pop at the SFA, and I take no pleasure in having a go at their shortcomings, because genuinely decent people with the good of our national game at heart work there. But surely there has to be some explanation given over how a recruitment process that lasted 127 days seemed only to result in a rejection from the SFA’s number one target, before a furious flick through McRae’s black book, which seems only to contain the numbers of former Scotland managers.

It is hard not to feel some sympathy for Alex McLeish, who while landing a job he was desperate to take, must be left with a feeling of being a 4am winch at the dancing rather than being the belle of the ball.

And there is nothing to say that he will not make a good fist of the job. He has been there and done it, and had a good record in the short time he was in charge 11 years back. Apart from the disastrous performance and result in Georgia, of course, when a 16-year-old debutant keeper recorded a shutout, and a 17-year-old who has only scored once for his country since, put our brave boys to the sword. Barring that aberration though, he proved himself more than a decent national coach at the time. But that is the problem, for me. His approach was of its time, and suited the players available.

Eleven years on, I am unsure as to whether the pragmatic approach favoured by McLeish in his first spell in charge of the national side would be suited to the rather exciting crop of young players that we currently have.

On the face of it, the likes of Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor look to be a potent mix of exciting attacking talent, and it remains to be seen if McLeish is the right man to deploy these players in such a way as to get the best from them.

And while I have a lot of time and respect for the former Rangers, Aston Villa and Birmingham manager, I would have loved to have seen how a more attack-minded coach would have handled them, or how someone with a fresh perspective might have let them off the leash.

It all just feels like a huge opportunity to inject some fresh impetus into the national set-up has been missed, and it is little surprise that the appointment has gone down like Jimmy Hill’s description of Dave Narey’s goal against Brazil as a toe-poke with the Tartan Army.

It may well work out, and there won’t be any complaints among 50,000 punters at Hampden if they are cheering Scotland on to the European Championships. But, for me, the appointment smacks of a lack of ambition, vision, and ability to think creatively. And that’s why last night, Scotland supporters were partying like it was 1889.