I WAS part of the SFA Board which decided against appointing Lars Lagerback as successor to George Burley back in 2009.
And as can be seen now, that was a mistake.
Lagerback has achieved more than any Scotland manager since Craig Brown back in 1998.
Leading Iceland, a country of some 320,000 people, to the quarter-finals of the Euros is remarkable.
Much may be owed to the way that country develops its young players, but it is remarkable nevertheless.
I expect them to lose to France, my favourites for this tournament from the outset, in the Stade de France today. But even if they do, they will deserve enormous credit.
With 16 times the population of the North Atlantic island, Scotland hasn’t been able to qualify for a major Finals for the last 18 years.
That is a depressing fact – and I can reveal the Lagerback decision seven years ago was rooted in historic failure.
His name was suggested to the board by, I believe, Rod Petrie of Hibs, as a possible contender to succeed George.
But our president at the time, George Peat, said we wanted to get a Scottish manager rather than bring in a foreigner. So that was that.
Berti Vogts’ time in charge of the national team from 2002 to 2004 had not gone well, and it was felt we did not want to go down that road again.
As Chief Executive, it was a position I was very familiar with.
Burley himself had been appointed from an all-Scottish shortlist which also included Graeme Souness, Tommy Burns and Mark McGhee in 2008.
I had put forward Roy Hodgson, who was at Fulham at the time – and had the idea rejected.
Decisions that can look badly wrong now have to always be put in the context of the time.
In 2009 when Lagerback applied, the board believed we had an outstanding candidate to lead Scotland.
That man was Craig Levein, now director of football at Hearts, and back then the very successful manager of Dundee United.
He impressed us so much, we felt there was no need for a shortlist. He swept into the job on a long contract.
As we know now, things didn’t work out. We did come close to clinching second place in our Euro 2012 qualifying group, but ultimately failed again.
When the World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign started badly, Craig had to go.
He was disappointed by the way things turned out. We all were.
If the successes of Iceland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in these Euros have shown anything, it is that we have to be positive in our approach and in our decision making.
The excuse that we are too small a country to produce the necessary world-class talent no longer holds water.
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