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‘I am proud to have served Scottish football’: Malky Mackay explains his decision to step down as SFA performance director

Malky Mackay.
Malky Mackay.

Malky Mackay has resigned as SFA performance director.

The former Cardiff boss – interviewed for the Dundee United job before Micky Mellon was appointed to the Tannadice role – says “it feels like the right time” to step down from the position.

His decision comes as Hampden chiefs embark on a cost-cutting programme prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s understood up to 18 members of staff at Mount Florida could be made redundant.

The SFA said: “The Scottish FA can confirm that Malky Mackay has today stepped down from his role as performance director.

“Malky joined the association four years ago and has had overarching responsibility to improve elite talent development across the game, working in partnership with the clubs to develop and deliver successful future international players and support our elite coaches.

“Malky has embedded strong core principles within the performance strategy, which have cascaded through our National Youth Teams, the Scottish FA Performance Schools and Club Academy Scotland.

“He has also played a vital role in further developing the Scottish FA’s renowned Coach Education curriculum and also worked on the prestigious Uefa Jira Coaching Panel.”

Mackay – interviewed by United bosses as they looked to replace Robbie Neilson earlier this year – stepped in as Scotland’s interim manager for a friendly against the Netherlands in 2017 following Gordon Strachan’s departure.

Ryan Christie (No 11) wheels away after scoring the opener in Serbia.

He handed debuts to Ryan Jack, Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor – three key players for Steve Clarke as his heroes beat Serbia on penalties to qualify for Euro 2020.

Ex-Celtic defender Mackay said: “As a number of qualification campaigns draw to a close and after four years in post, it feels like the right time to step down from my role as performance director.

“I would like to acknowledge the support I’ve had from my colleagues at the Scottish FA, to those at the clubs for their year-on-year co-operation and in particular to our talented team within the performance department for their passion, hard work and dedication.

“Together, I believe significant progress has been made during my tenure. Collaboration at its best is a powerful force for good in the Scottish game. One such example being the Pride Labs, which our club coaches have really embraced and come together to share best practice.

I am proud to have served Scottish football and to have played a part in the progress that has undoubtedly been made in more recent times.

“We’ve seen more players reared in Performance Schools breaking into first teams north and south of the border and playing with distinction.

“We have also enjoyed strong relationships with our member clubs both at board level and within the academy structure.

“At various age levels our national youth teams have consistently recorded excellent results against countries such as Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Germany and France.

“Most importantly we have done so with a consistent style of play throughout all our youth teams, one which I firmly believe will equip us to compete against our European counterparts more readily and over time give our players the platform to become top internationals of the future.

Robbie Neilson's Dundee United departure saw Malky Mackay interviewed for the hot seat.
Robbie Neilson’s Dundee United departure saw Malky Mackay interviewed for the hot seat.

“Our Talent ID player database stretches further than it ever has and our dedicated team of staff continue to scour the UK and beyond for Scottish talent to broaden the pool of players available to our national coaches.

“Last year, we came together as a nation to support Shelley Kerr and her staff as they led Scotland to its first FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals, in France – another ground-breaking experience I thoroughly enjoyed supporting and being a part of.

“It was also a great pleasure to be asked by the board to step in as interim manager for our national men’s international against Netherlands – an honour I’d like to thank them for and a memory I will cherish forever.

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“I am proud to have served Scottish football and to have played a part in the progress that has undoubtedly been made in more recent times.

“I care deeply about the Scottish game and about the role the Scottish FA plays in leading and nurturing it.

“We have some of the most passionate, knowledgeable and committed coaches around and it’s no real surprise to me that a new generation of confident, brave and technical players are now emerging.

“I look forward to seeing them grow and compete with the very best going forward.”

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