Ally McCoist claims Scottish football needs to use the experience of former Scotland managers like Sir Alex Ferguson and Walter Smith to help produce players who can lead them out of the international wilderness.
The former Scotland striker and assistant manager believes a myriad of obstacles are preventing young players reaching their potential and bemoaned the restrictions placed on his own sons in their fledgling football careers.
Scotland’s 3-0 defeat by England, which left them fifth in their World Cup qualifying group, has sparked a debate that goes beyond the future of manager Gordon Strachan.
McCoist thinks there is no benefit in changing the national team boss in the wake of “arguably their best performance of the campaign for 60 minutes”.
But he does argue that more fundamental change is needed despite the Scottish Football Association’s recent attempts to implement a performance strategy to improve the prospects of young players.
“I don’t think anyone can hide from the fact that we are not producing anything like the level of the youngster that we once did,” said the former Rangers manager, who was opening a new £1.5million clubhouse at Torrance Park Golf Club in Motherwell.
“But we haven’t qualified for 18 years so this is a problem that has not come overnight. There’s a number of reasons for that. If I had the absolute answer I would be telling you it, but it’s a combination of things.
“It comes down to clubs, the SFA, the youngsters themselves, parents, boys clubs, coaches, and we definitely need a revamp of the whole situation. There’s a million things.
“My boys for example cannot play two games at the weekend. They can’t play with their school and their boys club. What is that all about? Can someone tell me what that’s all about?
“When we were young we played Saturday morning with the school, Saturday afternoon with the BBs [Boys Brigade], and Sunday with the boys club. And then during the week we were playing and training all the time. It seems to me there are people putting obstacles up rather than trying to help.
“There has to be change and there’s a lot of people culpable, but I do believe everyone has the best interests of our country at heart in terms of producing youngsters again.
“We have to sit round a table and get those in the know, and by that I mean people like Alex Ferguson and Walter Smith, and come up with a plan.”
Strachan’s future remains uncertain ahead of talks with the SFA but Smith, who was appearing along with McCoist, believes his former Old Firm rival should stay in the job.
Former Rangers boss Smith said: “We are football managers, we know the team has to win otherwise you come under scrutiny and a level of criticism, but is it always the answer that the manager is the problem and is it always the answer that the manager should go? In this case I think not.
“Far be it for me to tell Gordon what to do, but I think he should stick it out at least until the end of the qualifying campaign to see where he can take us.”