Sir Alex Ferguson told McClair to take SFA job

SIR Alex Ferguson believes Brian McClair has the determination and intelligence to give Scotland a youth structure that could restore the glory days.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Picture: PA
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Picture: PA

Ferguson, who made McClair one of his early signings at Old Trafford in 1987, encouraged the 51-year-old to leave his role as Manchester United youth academy director and take up his upcoming position as Scottish Football Association performance director.

The former Scotland boss believes McClair, an ex-Motherwell, Celtic and Scotland player, has both the credibility and the presence to force through the necessary changes.

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Ferguson told the Scottish Football Association’s YouTube channel: “He came to see me and I said: ‘I think you should take it Brian, I think it’s a great challenge for you. Unless you feel you can’t leave Manchester United’.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Picture: PA

“Some people can’t, that’s a fact of life. It’s a great club. With Brian, he has been there so long it must have been a real big decision to make. Going back to Scotland is a big change.

“But I agreed with him. He looked upon it and said: ‘I think I can do something there’ and I said: ‘I think you can too’.

“I think you need someone with a steely determination that he can move everything aside that’s peripheral and concentrate on what’s important.

“He’s got the knowledge, experience and intelligence do that and I’m sure he will not allow people to interfere with that.”

McClair will take up his role on June 1 at a time of optimism about the game in Scotland, following Gordon Strachan’s impact on the national team.

Dutchman Mark Wotte previously performed the role until he quit in October last year, so some of the structure is in place, such as performance schools.

Ferguson added: “You want to see Scotland start producing young players because that’s the key to getting back to when Aberdeen won the European Cup Winners’ Cup, Celtic won the European Cup, Rangers won the Cup Winners’ Cup. All Scottish players.

“When I speak to people abroad and I tell them about that they can’t believe it. It was a fantastic period for Scottish football.

“When you think about Denis Law, Jimmy Johnstone, Kenny Dalglish, greatest players of all time, Jim Baxter and Graeme Souness, all these players, it would be lovely to see that coming back.

“And the only way is by getting a proper structure of developing young people and I’m sure Brian will do his very best to make sure that happens.”