Alex McLeish backs sport science chief after ‘ridiculous lampooning’ in wake of Kazakhstan loss

Scotland's head of high performance Graeme Jones has been backed by Alex McLeish. Picture: SNS Group
Scotland's head of high performance Graeme Jones has been backed by Alex McLeish. Picture: SNS Group
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Criticism of the Scottish FA’s head of high performance, Graeme Jones, is “ridiculous”, Alex McLeish has claimed.

The Scotland manager leapt to the defence of Jones after the sports scientist’s methods were mocked on the back of the thumping in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

It was Jones who petitioned that the team should travel four days before to compensate for travelling across three time zones, and that they should remain on UK time throughout.

McLeish, who at the weekend had himself hinted at certain frustrations with the influence of sports science methods on player availability, stressed that Jones had the full confidence of the Scotland squad and was simply bringing the SFA in line with the best practice at the top club sides.

“I’ve got to say, Graeme Jones of performance, the stick he has had over the weekend – lampooning him and all that stuff – is ridiculous,” said the Scotland manager. “He has been fantastic.

“Him and his team are replicating what the clubs do for their players. What happens at Liverpool and the big clubs down south. Celtic as well.

“There are a lot of Scottish teams trying to do it, and I guess there is a question of money as well. So Graeme Jones and his team are highly respected by the players.”