Malky Mackay hoping to unite Scottish football

New performance director has previously been investigated for sending offensive texts

New Performance Director of the Scottish FA Malky Mackay after his press conference at Hampden Park. Photograph: Jeff Holmes/PA

New Performance Director of the Scottish FA Malky Mackay after his press conference at Hampden Park. Photograph: Jeff Holmes/PA

 

Malky Mackay pledged to find the unity needed to improve Scottish football following the most divisive of appointments.

The Scottish Football Association’s decision to select Mackay as its new performance director has split opinion with some arguing it sends out the wrong message while others call for him to be given a second chance.

In recent years Mackay has been through an 11-month English Football Association investigation into offensive text messages which were exchanged between himself and a Cardiff colleague, revelations which saw Crystal Palace withdraw their offer of the manager’s job and his short stint as Wigan boss overshadowed by the furore, plus a lengthy re-education process on equality and diversity issues.

The SFA has decided to offer the 44-year-old a route back into football as the man tasked with helping young Scottish players fulfil their potential, but the division is unlikely to end following numerous complaints over his recruitment and an awkward opening media conference with Mackay and chief executive Stewart Regan.

The former Cardiff and Watford boss was handed a draft blueprint for change during the interview process which was drawn up partly by predecessor Brian McClair but also representatives of several clubs, mostly among the biggest in the country.

The Project Brave paper has already caused major controversy with some clubs deeply concerned about the prospect of being cut adrift from a proposed eight-team elite youth set-up.

At least one is understood to be considering legal action should the change be forced through, a situation which highlights the difficulties facing Mackay and his predecessors, Mark Wotte and McClair, who both quit unexpectedly.

Mackay said: “Project Brave is something that two weeks ago I was given and asked to critique for my second interview.

“On it was who was in the working party, and there was chairmen, chief executives, heads of youth from six or seven clubs in Scotland, all at top level. So, initially, we have already got reasonable brains in the room.

“What I read were very, very good ideas that are going to try and change Scottish football slightly. Because if we keep doing the same thing we are going to keep getting the same result. Add to that me taking it, critiquing it, and then tweaking it and refining it, which is what I am going to do with the help of quite a lot of people.

“Because this is not about my way, it’s not about Stewart’s way, it’s not about Project Brave’s working party’s way, it’s about everyone coming together, and then going to the clubs and getting the clubs buying in as well.

“Because without the clubs it goes back to the old adage of we knock the door and they don’t allow us in.

“It’s about togetherness and it’s about what we can do for the clubs and what the clubs can do back for the Scotland team.”

Mackay insisted he would have the opportunity to make fundamental changes beyond what is currently included in Project Brave.

“There are some really good ideas in there but there are other things that I am going to be involved in in terms of bringing forward,” the former Celtic and Scotland defender said.

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