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Euro Sport / Sports

SFA set to appoint new manager before chief exectutive

The association is looking for successors to both Gordon Strachan and Stewart Regan.

The association is looking for successors to both Gordon Strachan and Stewart Regan.

The Scottish Football Association will not wait to appoint a successor to Stewart Regan before completing its search for a new national team boss, Press Association Sport understands.

Regan resigned as chief executive last week after eight turbulent years at Hampden.

His departure leaves the governing body looking to hire both a manager for the national team and someone to run its day-to-day operations.

But with friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary looming next month, the SFA board have decided there is no more time to waste on the football front.

Regan’s failure to secure primary target Michael O’Neill as Gordon Strachan’s replacement following a three-month courtship effectively sealed his fate.

However, the board are content to allow Andrew McKinlay – who has stepped up from chief operating officer to take over Regan’s duties in the interim period – to remain in charge of behind-the-scenes operations while a headhunting firm is brought in to find a new chief executive.

Former Rangers boss Walter Smith has now emerged as the leading candidate to take over as Scotland manager, with the SFA’s performance director Malky Mackay also reportedly in the frame having previously been ruled out by Regan.

The remaining members of the sub-committee leading the manager hunt – Alan McRae, Rod Petrie and Ian Maxwell – are now set to regroup having called a halt to their discussions in the wake of Regan’s departure.

A Hampden insider told Press Association Sport: “The likelihood is the board will press ahead with appointing a new manager, with the chief exec to follow later.

“It could take several months for the new CEO to be appointed if they have a notice period to work with an existing employer.

“The board don’t see that as too big a problem. Had Gordon Strachan stayed on as boss, a new chief exec would have had to take over and learn to work with someone already in post so they don’t see the current situation too differently.

“There isn’t much of a rush in any case. There’s several departments at the SFA, all with their own remits, who have their own line managers in place, so the chief executive is mainly there to give guidance and look after the big picture.

“Andrew McKinlay is now in charge of the day-to-day goings on while the board are there to offer help and make any decisions as necessary.”

However, former Scotland midfielder Colin Cameron believes Hampden chiefs should not rush either appointment.

“I’d think you’d want to have the chief exec in place before the manager as he or she is the hiring and firing guy,” said the former Hearts and Wolves player.

“With the fact we’ve not got a competitive game until September, I can’t see why we can’t let (Scotland Under-21 boss) Scot Gemmill take care of next month’s friendlies and then concentrate on getting the right person in charge for the long term.

“Scot’s worked with the younger age groups for a number of years now so the board should let him take charge and give themselves more time to get a chief exec in place before looking at a new boss.”