Q&A with the Scotland Under-21 Head Coach
Tell us about your story so far with Scotland.
I think it goes back to 2008 when I first started to travel with the national youth teams before I went in full-time as head coach for the Under-15s. I progressed to the Under-16s and then the Under-17s. We qualified for four consecutive finals, which was a great achievement. I had one season with the Under-19s before moving to the Under-21s.
What does your average week entail?
I watch games at all the age levels. Right now it’s great because a lot of the Under-21 players are playing first-team football now. That’s something I really enjoy. I know I’m lucky that to consider that my job – going to watch games. Games-wise it’s changed a bit. With the younger age groups you had the qualifying stage and then the elite round, with the finals coming round quickly thereafter. With the Under-21s the games fall into the international dates to avoid clashes with club games.
What do your backroom staff bring to the table?
We’ve got the technical side of it covered with the assistant coach and goalkeeping coach. Behind that there’s a big emphasis on sports science. The Head of Performances has a strong influence with that. The well-being of the players is taken care of by the doctors and the physios. The team manager’s also very important, making sure that when the team travels everything goes correctly with hotels and flights. A lot goes on behind the scenes to help the players maximise their performance when they’re with us.
How closely do you work with Malky Mackay?
I was really keen for Malky to get involved with us because a big part of his job is assessing how he work and to see how we can improve. He’s great in terms of helping the players and the staff.