Scottish Daily Mail

Ulterior motives at play with Lawwell and Co...


IF following Scotland’s national rugby team can be an up-and-down affair for supporters, spare a thought for the nation’s football fans. Few can rival this hardy bunch when it comes to anguish, suffering and repeatedly being fooled by false dawns that turn out to be another wildfire on the horizon. It’s okay, though. Peter Lawwell, a man with the interests of the entire Scottish game at heart, has now taken the SFA to task. And Ian Maxwell, absolved of all responsibi­lity for his part in the slightly shambolic search for a new head coach, is going to be fast-tracked into the role of chief executive. Everything’s fine. Nothing to see here. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain… Taking the case of Lawwell first, it’s clear the Celtic chief executive speaks with more authority than anyone else in Scotland on the subject of running a profession­al football organisati­on. It’s heartening, meanwhile, to see him catch up with this column in decrying the joint leadership of Alan McRae and Rod Petrie, signalling the imminent arrival of a coup against the time-served SFA thumb twiddlers. But here’s the tricky question that must follow any cry for even the most popular revolution. Then what? Well, it seems that part of the answer involves installing Maxwell as a unifying figure in the role of chief executive, partly because he’s acceptable to the bigger member clubs. Maxwell is a good man. And he’s done a fine job. At Partick Thistle. Feel free to correct any error on our part, but isn’t Maxwell on the SFA panel responsibl­e for pursuing first Michael O’Neill and then Walter Smith? Just checking. Because, among those so furiously pushing him towards the top job, there has been no mention of his share in failures that forced Stewart Regan to resign — and are now judged sacking offences for the other two on the panel. Behind all of the public declaratio­ns and private whispers is the ever-present threat of a power grab by the profession­al clubs. It should be resisted. Because, as inept and annoying as the SFA may be, the country actually benefits from an associatio­n not controlled by the chosen few. Talk of a single governing body must be resisted, if only because the major clubs in Scotland have a patchy track record — to say the least — when it comes to acting on behalf of the greater good. For the 80 per cent of the game that isn’t the SPFL, including the Scotland national teams, we need the SFA. We also need it to be better. And we all need to question not just the credential­s of those pushing for change. But their motives.

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