Malky Mackay full of pride – and hope – for young Scots after Dutch defeat

Malky Mackay
Malky Mackay
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Malky Mackay expressed his pride at Scotland’s performance despite a defeat in what he expects to be his only match in charge of the national team.

The SFA performance director says he will “return to the day job” tomorrow after overseeing the 1-0 loss to Netherlands at Pittodrie.

Shortly before the friendly match, SFA chief executive Stewart Regan confirmed that Mackay would not be considered for the role on a permanent basis as the search for Gordon Strachan’s replacement continues. Mackay, who gave debuts to four players last night, believes the future of the national team is bright for whoever gets the job.

“I wouldn’t imagine I’ll be in charge for the next friendly,” said Mackay. “I’ll go back to my day job. We have a staff in place. That’s what I’ll be heavily involved in, putting in place a staff which surrounds the senior squad. I want it to be a certain fashion, like a Champions League club.

“I was really, really proud of the players tonight. To play against Holland and end up with 18 chances on goal says something about them. They will be disappointed at not being more clinical and taking some of the chances but I thought they showed real bravery. We have a young group there who are very athletic, tactically aware of the game plan I asked them to put on. More than that, they are technically good players. People have knocked the technique of Scottish footballers but if you look at the way they played against one of the top ranked European countries, who are so comfortable on the ball – we were also very comfortable on the ball.

“I’m very proud of them and I’ve told them that. That is the group with the jerseys now. They have three or four friendlies to play before they go into the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Why that group can’t go on to win 50 caps, I don’t know.

“We lost Leigh Griffiths beforehand, lost Stuart Armstrong on Wednesday night and lost Scott Brown. He sat next to me on the bench and was part of the coaching staff.

“We also lost Darren Fletcher. If you add those four to it, then you are starting to see a real good blend.

“We have a lot of young, hungry, athletic and talented footballers. They just need belief. They just need helped along the way to become top Scottish international footballers. If they play against mid-ranking European teams like that in a campaign, then we win.”

Mackay is unsure if he will play any part in the ongoing process to find a new manager. “There is a sub-committee involved in picking the new manager,” he added. “I don’t think I’ll be involved in that. If I’m asked my opinion, fine. All I’ve been doing in the last week was making sure the preparation was right to go and play Holland.”