Malky Mackay Q&A
How have you found your first year in charge?
I have really enjoyed it, working with a lot of good people at the Scottish FA and the wider Scottish community.
I have had the privilege of visiting a lot of the clubs around the country to have a cup of tea with them at their training ground or stadium and have seen the challenges they have.
I think they realise I’m not going in with a magic wand, but I’m going in to see what we can do to help them.
Everyone realises that if we co-operate and collaborate there is a better chance of things moving forward in Scottish football.
What was your biggest challenge coming into the role and what have you done to try and rectify that?
I think that communication between the Scottish FA and the clubs was the biggest challenge I faced.
I wanted to quickly address that by making sure I have seen as many of the stakeholders as quickly as possible to try and understand the issues going on and how we can work together to make things better.
Is there anything that has surprised you?
I suppose the real passion that Scottish people have for football.
The amount of hours people do for football through the clubs around the country is really inspiring.
I went up to Dingwall to see Roy MacGregor and their Academy Director Steven Ferguson and Steven was telling me he often drives 100 miles north to get on a ferry to the Shetlands to go and coach.
Certain clubs have a lot of logistical aspects to try and work around and there are so many dedicated people who deeply care about their football.
They work hard to make sure their little area of the club works well and the pride they have in that shines through.
What are the key things you have introduced?
I want people to think of the Performance department as one big team.
Within that team we have the under-16s, under-17s, under-19s and under-21s for men.
On the female side, we have under-17s, under-19s and the Scotland Women’s National Team.
We have altered a number of things within those areas including Brian McLaughlin taking over as under-17s head coach. Donald Park has become the under-19s head coach and Scot Gemmill is now in charge of the under-21s.
We’ve also tweaked their assistants with Peter Grant, Darren Jackson and Joe McBride all now working with the youth teams.
In the women’s game we have appointed Shelley Kerr as head coach and she has been a breath of fresh air, bringing a real zest and energy to her role.
She has appointed Pauline Hamill as under 19s head coach and Pauline MacDonald as under-17s head coach.
We are now one of seven nations in Europe to have three full-time female coaches working in the women’s game which is something to be proud of.
We have also opened up an Elite Coaching department where Jim fleeting and Donald Park go out to the clubs to mentor our young coaches which is something that has been embraced.
We have our Performance Schools where the curriculum will be changed as we go and as far as I am concerned these are the lifeblood of the Scottish players for the future.
The Talent ID department is growing in terms of the regional scouts that will filter into the talent management system.
We now have a large database of young Scots which is something we did not have before.
The analysis department is also going from strength to strength. We are now using real time GPS units on players in training and we did that for the A squad for the first time against the Netherlands.
It’s about improving standards as we go along and improving best practice.
What visits have you undertaken so far to develop your knowledge and what have you taken back to the Scottish FA?
I’ve been to a variety of different clubs, sports and businesses.
I’ve been over to see Red Bull Leipzig to speak to their Sporting Director Ralf Rangnick and spent a week at a pre-season training camp which was fabulous.
They are a top Bundesliga team who always demonstrate best practice.
I’ve also been down to the Special Forces, the SAS, to learn about leadership and teamwork which was a fascinating experience and something we can learn from.
I’ve been to a variety of clubs in England to look at exactly what they’re doing.
I’ve been to Southampton to see Eric Black and Ross Wilson as well ass Burnley to see Sean Dyche who has presented at our Elite Coaching Course.
He’s one of the biggest overachievers in England and someone to learn from.
How did being first team manager help add to your knowledge base?
It gave me the opportunity to get to know the ‘A’ squad players and I really enjoyed the experience.
Everything I asked of the boys they threw themselves into and more.
It was a young, dynamic group who wanted to do well.
They embraced the slight changes there were in terms of analysis and sports science and I think the five day camp seemed to go well.
The biggest thing was getting to know the different individual characters and personalities and if that group are kept together going forward we have a great chance of qualifying for a major tournament.
How excited are you to see Project Brave begin and what are your hopes there?
It’s been an intense ten or eleven months going from when the working party finished and gave their recommendations to now where the clubs have gone into categories and we are ready to launch the initiative.
We are proud of the Scottish FA staff who have worked tirelessly in that time with the clubs.
You’re never going to get everyone happy. There’s always going to be a situation where one or two clubs will be aggrieved over certain things but I feel that this will help the overall fundamental issue of trying to improve the game in Scotland.
We need more full time coaches, the facilities to be better and more support staff.
We need the environment for a young footballer to improve, to give them the best chance to be a footballer.
This is the biggest change in Scottish football as far as young players are concerned for a long time.