As part of Grassroots Coach Education week, Scottish FA Head of Coach Education and Development Greig Paterson sat down to reflect on the past year and the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Courses at all levels on the coach education pathway have been affected during the last 12 months, however online offerings have allowed coaches all across the world to continue to learn and develop.

In an exclusive interview, Greig Paterson explained the success of the courses during the challenges of lockdown, the lasting impact on coach education and the need to get coaches back on the football pitch.

He also spoke about the benefits the online offering has brought in terms of being able to use Scottish Premiership coaches more often to educate aspiring coaches virtually.

He said: “We’ve had people like Jack Ross, Brian Rice, Robbie Neilson and Russell Martin all working with us on the courses.

“These guys all have full-time jobs and the online offering actually gives us more access to these people because normally we’d be asking them to travel through to Hampden or Oriam and that’s difficult in normal circumstances, but it’s easy for them to finish on the training pitch and jump on a zoom call or a webinar."

During the pandemic the coach education courses has offered aspiring coaches the chance to continue to progress their coaching journeys and interact with others.

He said: "That engagement with people has vitally important for so many as we've been socially isolated for so long. Interacting online has been incredibly impactful for so many, and we've had a rise of female coaches attending our courses over the past year because of the environment we've created."

As we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the pandemic, Greig is hoping the courses will be able to return to pitches in the near future.

He added: “We've all become great on paper and tactics boards just now but there's a backlog of people desperately needing to get back on the pitch."

"There's a lot of people who're not actively coaching and we need them to be doing that so they can become better coaches."