MALKY MACKAY will “return to the day job” on Friday brimming with pride over the way his new-look Scotland side performed under his caretaker charge.
Scotland fell to a 1-0 defeat by Holland at Pittodrie but Memphis Depay’s 40th-minute counter-attack goal looked offside and the visitors otherwise struggled to break down Mackay’s side.
The Scots had a series of promising moves but makeshift striker Matt Phillips looked like a player out of position while Callum McGregor, John McGinn and substitutes Ryan Fraser and Jason Cummings all came close.
Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan declared on radio hours before kick-off that Mackay was not a contender to succeed Gordon Strachan on a long-term basis and the former Cardiff manager will resume his duties as performance director immediately.
But he believes he has helped shape the future of the national team after handing debuts to Ryan Christie, Ryan Jack, McGregor and Cummings and handing 20-year-old Kieran Tierney the captain’s armband after losing Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, Leigh Griffiths and Darren Fletcher to injury.
Mackay, who had Eric Black and Brown alongside him on the bench, said: “I will go back to my day job tomorrow, but we have a group in there, a staff that I will put in place, and that’s probably one of the things I am going to be heavily involved in, the staff that surrounds the first team.
“I want it to be in a certain fashion, I want it to be cutting edge and I want it to be like a Champions League club. I have enough experience of being involved in the Premier League and around Champions League clubs to know exactly what’s needed for Scotland.
“I have staff who I am immensely proud that they came and gave the players those extra one per cents to allow them to go out on the pitch and perform.”
Mackay does not expect to be heavily involved in the SFA board’s recruitment process.
“I think there’s a sub-committee,” said Mackay, who had an exchange of views with Regan pitchside before the game. “I don’t know but probably not. If they ask my opinion, then fine, but all I have been concentrating on over the past week was making sure the preparation was right to play against Holland.”
Mackay feels the new manager will have plenty to work with.
“I was really, really proud of the players,” he said. “To play against Holland and end up with 18 chances says something about them.
“We are disappointed that we weren’t more clinical and took some of the chances but they showed real bravery because we have a young group who are very athletic and tactically aware, because they carried out the game plan. But more than that, technically good players.
“People have knocked the technique of Scottish footballers but when you look at that, playing against one of the top European teams who are very comfortable on the ball, we showed we are very comfortable too.”
Holland manager Dick Advocaat felt his side were worth their win.
“We had a lot of possession without creating a lot of chances, which had something to do with the way Scotland were playing with a lot of men behind the ball,” the former Rangers boss said. “But it was a well-deserved win.
“It’s not always easy to play against new players because they were fighting unbelievably.”