ONE down, one to go for the Scottish FA. The headline appointment has been made but it is the next man through the door at Hampden that will shape the future of our game.

Alex McLeish will select the team, pick the tactics and deliver the messages that will determine Scotland’s fate in the Nations League and European Championship qualifiers.

At any club, it is the manager that is the most important figure. That isn’t the case for Scotland, though.

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The process, if you can even call it that, which led to the unveiling of McLeish was flawed and farcical. Indeed, it was summed up by the bumbling way in which he was presented to the media by President Alan McRae on Friday morning.

But don’t hold that against the man himself. The SFA have actually landed a boss that is capable of achieving the ultimate aim and taking Scotland back to a major finals as we creep into a third decade of despair on the international scene.

McLeish isn’t there to reinvent the wheel or revolutionise Scottish football. He is there to man manage, to get the best out of players and to win games. That’s it.

That is what he has done before and that is what he believes he can do again. It is all any Scotland fan can ask of him.

But that is only half the battle that we face and this is where the next chief executive comes in and must come to the fore.

Our failures over the last 20 years can’t all be laid at the door of the men on the touchline and there are deeper, more wide-reaching issues that must be solved if we are to move forward as a football force.

Only time will tell if plans that were put in place during Stewart Regan’s tenure, like the Performance Schools and Project Brave, will have any meaningful impact on the National side.

If there is to be success at the top, every level from the ground up has to operate at its maximum. That will take leadership from the sixth floor at Hampden.

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At the end of the day, McLeish can only work with the tools that he is given. It is down to the next chief executive and Malky Mackay to give him the best ones possible.

The appointment of McLeish felt like an opportunity missed for some as they sought a younger, more exciting coach to lead the team into the next campaign.

But the real chance for innovation and progress is in the boardroom rather than the dugout. That is the chance that the SFA can’t afford not to make the most of.


When it comes to broadcast deals, England really is in a league of its own. And there are billions of reasons why.

The announcement of the new rights packages the Premier League agreed with Sky and BT Sport this week prompted an entirely predictable reaction in many quarters.

The first part was that some saw the huge sums as obscene as they baulked at the £4.46bn agreement, a figure that will rise once the remaining packages are sold.

And the second was the comparison between what both firms pay for showing the English top tier and the Premiership. Both arguments are as futile as they are pointless.

The current SPFL deal, worth around £20million-per-season, is due to expire in 2020 and the next round of negotiations are crucial for chief executive Neil Doncaster and his member clubs.

It is up to the SPFL to sell themselves, not the broadcasters to stick a few quid on the table just because we are across the boarder from the self-proclaimed best league in the world.

That is as close as the Scottish game will ever get to our English counterparts but that is not to say we can’t follow their example by maximising their product and profit.