This weekend sees the launch of the latest Scottish FA-delivered UEFA Pro Licence course, the highest coaching qualification in Europe. 

The UEFA Pro Licence diploma operates on a two-year cycle and runs over an 18-month period, covering all aspects of football coaching and management.

The Scottish FA have run the course since 1999, with previous graduates going on to coach at international level, in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

The 2017 cohort were selected following a rigorous application process, and have already attended an induction day in November 2016. 

Over the duration of the course they will have to complete several tasks and assignments, and attend a tournament abroad and complete a club visit overseas. 

Last year Robbie Neilson, Alan Archibald, Gary Caldwell, Keith Lasley and Ian Murray graduated. 

Past names to have completed the Scottish FA’s course include former Scotland manager Walter Smith, Andre Villas Boas and David Moyes.

This year’s participants include former Portuguese international Costinha, who won both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup with Porto during a playing career that saw him pick up 53 caps for Portugal. 

Scotland Under-17s, 16s and 15s women’s head coach Pauline Hammill is also among the participants who will begin the course this Sunday.

Pauline is the latest female to do the course, following in the footsteps of current Scotland Women’s A-team coach Anna Signeul, assistant coach Ann-Helen Grahm and Stirling University manager Shelley Kerr.

Joining the former Scotland internationalist will be Hamilton manager Martin Canning, St. Mirren manager Jack Ross, Hearts assistant coach Austin McPhee and MK Dons assistant manager and former Scotland internationalist Stevie Crawford. 

Guest speakers at the course this Sunday include Scottish Rugby’s record points and caps holder Chris Paterson, former director of coaching for UK Athletics Frank Dick and performance coach Donald McNaughton. Former England manager Roy Hodgson will lead practical and theory sessions on Monday. 

A high-profile attendee from this course will write a blog documenting his progress throughout the course for

Director of Football Development, Jim Fleeting said: “This is the highest Licence award in UEFA and in the past has proved successful in improving coaches knowledge, allowing them to progress in their careers.

“This year we have lots of up and coming, talented coaches enrolled. 

“This course will undoubtedly set them on their way to reaching the next level.

"The course participants will have the benefit of listening and learning from the various practical and theoretical sessions that will take place, as well as the benefits they get from the knowledge and experience from their peers and tutors on the course. 

“They also have to complete several tasks and assignments, and attend a tournament abroad and complete a club visit overseas. 

“In the past we have seen coaches accelerate their development and career path since completion of the course and we’re looking forward to seeing how this group progress.”

Click here for more details on the Scottish FA coaching pathway