The man charged with overseeing Scotland’s most talented young footballers has stressed the need to keep faith with Scottish FA performance schools.
Neil Mackintosh, the SFA performance development manager, will be based at Scotland’s new sports performance centre at Riccarton when it opens at the end of the month.
He was in Edinburgh yesterday to give the latest intake of performance school pupils a glimpse of the impressive facilities. With the SFA now in the market for a new performance director following the sudden departure of Brian McClair, Mackintosh expressed the hope the next person to fill the role recognises the wealth of talent now coming through the four-year-old programme.
“As an association, we need to be intelligent in what we do,” he said. “We need to be brutally honest, look at four years of the performance strategy and ask what has worked, what hasn’t worked, what we need to change. I would like to think we’re intelligent enough to do that. Which is why this programme is different now than it was four years ago. That’s evolution.”
Mackintosh, once a coach at Ross County, says he wants to be sitting in his dotage with a whisky toasting the success of a raft of players who have come through the system. He had reason to salute two old boys as recently as Saturday.
“I picked up the paper last week and saw that Craig Sibbald had played 200 games for Falkirk,” he said. “Then he scores an absolute cracker at the weekend, before Jason Cummings then scores two (for Hibs) in the same game. You do look at that and think: ‘Aye, that’s what it’s all about.’ Pride is the right word for that.”