McClair resigned in July, amid dark murmurings that he had been frustrated in attempts to persuade clubs to abandon narrow self-interest for the greater good when it came to the development of young players.
Warburton, who was the assistant academy director under Mackay, pictured, at Watford in 2011, insists that there is no-one better placed than the 44-year-old to implement the necessary reforms.
“I know Malky could make a difference,” he said. “You want someone who is positive, had good ideas and can communicate.
“You also need someone who has an edge to them – you can’t be the perfect diplomat all the time. Sometimes you need an edge to push things through.
“You need someone to go in there and get things done. I know Malky very well. He’s a man steeped in football.
“If he got the job it would be a fantastic step in the right direction for Scottish football.”
After allegations in 2014 that Mackay had sent racist, sexist and homophobic text messages on a mobile, an FA investigation ruled that there were no charges for Mackay to face.