The Scottish FA’s UEFA Pro Licence kicks-off this weekend, with high-flying coaches Alex Neil and Ian Cathro among the applicants.

Former England, Manchester City and Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan will provide a keynote presentation on the transition from playing to management during the two-day introductory session at the national stadium.

Alex Neil recently became the manager of Norwich City following a successful spell as player-manager at Hamilton Academical, in which he guided the Accies to promotion to the Scottish Premiership and then to the top-half of the table.

Ian Cathro is currently the assistant manager to Nuno Espírito Santo at Valencia, having originally met the Portuguese coach at a Scottish FA coaching course in 2009. Previously a coach at a Scottish FA Performance School, St John's in Dundee, Cathro joined the La Liga side following a spell in Portugal as Nuno’s assistant at Rio Ave.

The two candidates are great examples of the young Scottish coaches making their mark in the game according to the Scottish FA’s Director of Football Development, Jim Fleeting.

"They are just two of the many excellent coaches we have on the Pro Licence this time around," said Fleeting. "Ian has done fantastically well to get to where he is at Valencia, as has Alex in his recent move to Norwich City.

"They are both good guys who have applied themselves brilliantly. However, as well as they have done, they are both here as candidates, and are young coaches who are here to take part in the course.
"There are the likes of Alan Archibald, Paul Hartley and James Fowler who are candidates this week also, and there are a range of coaches here from both home and abroad.”

Keegan, who won the European Cup with Liverpool in 1977 as well as leading England to EURO 2000, will offer an expert look into the challenges of a player immediately entering the unique pressures of management. 

"Kevin is speaking at the event as part of the transition from being a player to manager," said Fleeting.

"As someone who has played at the highest level with Liverpool and Hamburg and moved into management with teams such as Newcastle United, Manchester City and England, his insight will certainly be a fascinating one.”

Fleeting has just returned from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention in Philadelphia where he and Donald Park lead a workshop and participated in coaching exercises. It was an experience that he certainly will not forget.

"It was simply unbelievable” he said.

"To be at a convention with over 12,000 coaches was unreal, and credit must go to the NSCAA for organising an incredible event on such a large scale.

"The coach education on and off the field was incredible, with up to ten lectures taking place every hour and practical sessions. Myself and Donald Park took one of the sessions, and it was well received.”

To find out more about the Scottish FA’s Coach Education programmes and how to get involved, click here.