The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Bravo Bhoys but don’t do it again, pleads SFA pres­i­dent

- By Fraser Mackie

SFA pres­i­dent Alan McRae hopes Celtic’s sea­son of ut­ter do­mes­tic dom­i­nance is a one-off.

McRae hailed their ‘amaz­ing’ un­beaten cam­paign com­ing half a cen­tury af­ter Euro­pean Cup glory.

How­ever, he is ex­pec­tant about see­ing a far stronger chal­lenge to the Tre­ble win­ners in 2017/18.

McRae said: ‘It’s dif­fi­cult for the other clubs to com­pete with Celtic be­cause at the mo­ment Celtic are fly­ing high. They had a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment to come through both cups and the league be­ing un­de­feated, es­pe­cially on the 50th an­niver­sary of the Lis­bon Lions.

‘It’s quite amaz­ing. They’ve done it once but hope­fully it won’t hap­pen again next sea­son be­cause we must have chal­lengers.

‘They know you need to have peo­ple chal­leng­ing, oth­er­wise it will get very bor­ing and dreary. We def­i­nitely need a good, strong Rangers. They are back but they still have a bit to go. I am sure they will even­tu­ally. Hibs are back, which is good.

‘Hearts will have their sta­dium fin­ished. I think we are in for a re­ally ex­cit­ing sea­son with Aberdeen up there again and St John­stone, who are dif­fi­cult to beat.

‘We’ve just got to have our top teams per­form­ing at the high­est level, try­ing to get the co­ef­fi­cient back up.

‘That needs the other teams, such as Aberdeen, to get de­cent runs if they can and get through to the (Europa League) group stage.’

McRae, mean­while, has praised the im­pact made by Malky Mackay six months into his ten­ure as per­for­mance di­rec­tor at Ham­p­den.

He be­lieves Mackay has brought ‘the spark’ re­quired for the role va­cated by Brian McClair last sum­mer.

Mackay has been charged with de­liv­er­ing the Project Brave blue­print to clubs as a vi­able saviour of the devel­op­ment of academy play­ers in Scot­land.

The for­mer Cardiff and Wat­ford boss is the third ap­point­ment to the role fol­low­ing Mark Wotte and McClair.

McRae said: ‘Mark did okay up to a point and got the thing go­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, I don’t think the job suited Brian and I don’t think he was happy.

‘He was happy to de­cide to go in another di­rec­tion, so prob­a­bly there was a lull or stag­na­tion.

‘Malky’s come in and is full of en­thu­si­asm. He has man­aged at the top level in Eng­land. He’s very in­flu­en­tial, a good guy.

‘He’s got a bit of zip in him. He was bril­liant at the in­ter­views with how he came across and what he was go­ing to do. That was the spark we needed.

‘He’s brought that oomph and the ex­pe­ri­ence and the con­tacts and is the right sort of guy to drive that.

‘What we have seen of Malky is promis­ing and good be­cause it’s a dif­fi­cult job to get this up and go­ing and over the line. Not only is this go­ing to im­prove the in­ter­na­tional stand­ing, hope­fully it should im­prove club foot­ball if we get bet­ter, tal­ented play­ers who can play first-team foot­ball.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK