Now in it’s fourth consecutive year, the Scottish FA Convention offers member clubs the chance to hear from high profile speakers discussing a wide range of topics.
Having been on stage last year addressing attendees, Hibernian’s Head of Football Operations George Craig was in the audience this time around and sat as a proud man as one of his prodigies educated the great and the good of Scottish football.
Southampton’s Director of Football Operations Ross Wilson spoke to the audience about his role at St Mary’s as well as the culture and best practices employed by himself at the club.
Wilson graduated in social sciences at Strathclyde University and fresh from university, chanced his luck for a job at his boyhood team, Falkirk where he was faced with George Craig.
Craig said: “I know Ross well and have lots of happy memories with him in our time at Falkirk.
“I first came across him when he was young and had just graduated from university. He was a supporter of Falkirk, much like myself but I was the managing director.
“I was looking for people who were passionate and enthusiastic and when I was searching for an Education and Welfare Officer Ross probably didn’t fit my profile.
“He’s always been good at not saying no for an answer though and following a two hour chat on the way home after I gave him a lift from his interview I decided to give it a bash and employ him.
“It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Hosted by Eilidh Barbour and Richard Gordon, a number of workshops were also run throughout the day with the presentation by the Scottish FA Youth Ambassadors of Change particularly chiming with Craig.
He said: “The Youth Ambassadors were really inspiring and just show just what young people are capable of.
“They remind me a lot of Ross as they too seem desperate for opportunities to impress.
“I am not surprised at all to see Ross do so well. He’s the most successful graduate from the Falkirk Academy even though he’s never kicked a ball. And don’t let him you otherwise!”
David Elleray of IFAB took the time at Convention to consider how the use of video technology will change football.
“David was brilliant and the subject of VAR was extremely thought provoking,” Craig said.
“He dispelled a lot of the myths about it and certainly made everyone appreciate the benefit of it.
“I don’t think you’ll find anyone who could come up with a credible answer against it, unless it was to continue being simply traditional.
“If there is an opportunity to get the right refereeing outcome every time then why not.
“We have the opportunity to learn from other sports and come up with a system that is bespoke to football.”
The day ended with Ross Wilson being joined by Scottish FA Performance Director, Malky Mackay, Scotland Women’s National Team head coach Shelley Kerr and former Scotland midfielder Murdo MacLeod.
George Craig said: “They spoke about the importance of culture and building a strong club ethos. Shelley Kerr has a similar view on it to myself in that she says ‘it’s not rocket science.’
“A lot of it is simple like shaking hands, being respectable and being disciplined. The mantra we have for young players at Hibernian is that they wouldn’t be at the club if they weren’t talented and it’s in their own hands in terms of how far they go.
“It really was a great day and it seems like the Convention is becoming a lot more popular and something everyone looks forward to year upon year.
“Every club should consider sending a representative as there is a wide spectrum of topics discussed.”