Donald Park to step down as Scotland youth team coach

Donald Park has announced his intention to step down from his role as coach of Scotland's national youth team.

Donald Park is stepping down from his SFA role. Picture: SNS Group

Park, who has served as Head of Coach Education and Head of Elite Coaching during his time at the Scottish FA, said his career had been a “labour of love” adding: “There are so many people I would like to thank - from the staff at Hampden to the countless players, coaches and clubs I’ve dealt with over the years.

“I feel very lucky to have had the career I’ve had.”

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He had taken charge of the Scotland Under-19s in August last year, and led them to a 2-0 win over the Netherlands in March, in his last match as coach.

Originally from Caol, just outside Fort William, Park had a 16-year playing career as a midfielder with Hearts, Partick, Brechin City and Meadowbank Thistle.

He managed Meadowbank between 1992 and 1993, before spells as co-manager at Arbroath and caretaker boss at Hibs and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Park served as assistant manager to Franck Sauzee during his brief spell as Hibernian manager, and eventually left the club at the end of the 2001/02 campaign. He played a key role in the development of players such as Derek Riordan, Kenny Miller, Ian Murray, Tam McManus and Garry O’Connor.

SFA Performance Director Malky Mackay said it was “difficult to find the words to do such a well-liked and respected figure justice”.

He continued: “In what can be an intense industry at times, ‘Parky’ was never without his trademark smile and that infectious enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone he encountered.

“After such a long and distinguished career it’s testament to his character that the raw passion for the game remains intact.

“You’ll struggle to find a senior professional player in this country who doesn’t have a story to tell about Donald, or something to be thankful to him for.

“During his time here, Donald has performed equally well as a mentor figure – touching the lives of so many up and coming touchline talents - and out on the training pitch, where he obviously feels so at home.

“It’s an overused cliche but in this case it rings true. Donald is a one-off and I would like to offer my personal thanks, on behalf of everyone at the Scottish FA, to him for his commitment and dedication to Scottish football over such a long period of time.”