Billy Stark appointed Scotland national youth team coach

Billy Stark has been named Scotland's new national youth team coach, succeeding Donald Park who announced his intention to step down from the role earlier this year.

Stark spent six years with the Scottish FA as Under-21 coach before stepping down in November 2014 and last season, led East Kilbride to second in the Lowland League.

He has also had club managerial roles at Morton, St Johnstone and Queen’s Park.

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Speaking ahead of his return to Hampden, Stark said: “I’m delighted to be back. It was a bit out of the blue but I am really appreciative of the opportunity and grateful to Malky Mackay.

Billy Stark has returned to the Scotland set-up. Picture: SNS Group
Billy Stark has returned to the Scotland set-up. Picture: SNS Group

“I’m looking forward to taking the Under-19s and involving myself with the other work carried out by the Performance department. Donald did a great job and it’s my hope to pick up where he left off.

“It always filled me with pride to see younger players I’d worked with go on to achieve full honours with the national team – like Leigh Griffiths, who was in my first Under-19 squad.”

The 61-year-old, who knows SFA Performance Director Malky Mackay and fellow youth team coach Brian McLaughlin well from his time at Celtic as Tommy Burns’ No.2, is looking forward to working again with the national team set-up.

He added: “Brian and Malky were players at Celtic when I was assistant manager to Tommy, then I signed Brian for St Johnstone.

“I also remember getting Scot [Gemmill] started with the Scottish FA initially. I met him up at Stirling Albion when I was watching a youth game. It was the second or third time I’d seen him.

“He was such a football obsessive that he’d rented a flat and was taking in as many games as he could, so I made sure to get him involved in the setup and the rest is history.

“And I actually signed the new chief executive, Ian Maxwell, too. I took him to St Johnstone and he stood out because he was intelligent – which goes against the stereotype that surrounds footballers.

“Scottish football is a small wee world but I’m happy to see how far they’ve all come and how they’ve progressed to take on leadership roles.”

Mackay welcomed Stark’s arrival, and said: “I’m delighted that we’ve managed to acquire the services of Billy Stark who, I believe, is one of the best coach educators in the country.

“His vast experience as a manager, an assistant manager and a coach educator will be a real asset to us and I am delighted to welcome him back to the Scottish FA.

“I know Billy has played a big part in the development of some of the country’s best players and I’m looking forward to the next crop getting the benefit of his expertise.”