Mackay needs time as SFA performance director

Celtic coach John Kennedy has called for Malky Mackay to be given time to implement his blueprint for the future of Scottish football.

The former Wigan and Cardiff manager was confirmed as the Scottish Football Association’s performance director at Hampden Park on Thursday.

Mackay, the successor to Brian McClair, who quit in the summer after a little over a year in the post, will oversee the SFA’s attempts to produce elite young players.

Former Hoops defender Kennedy was part of the youth set-up at Celtic before moving up to first-team duties under former boss Ronny Deila.

He was speaking at the club’s Lennoxtown training complex ahead of the home Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Dundee at Parkhead on Saturday a nd stressed the importance of giving the SFA’s new recruit that most precious of football commodities, time.

Kennedy said: “Obviously there are different opinions on it but I think it is a good appointment.

“He is Scottish, he has our game at heart and I think he will do what’s best for our game.

“He has to come up with a blueprint for that (developing youngsters) but the important thing is that it doesn’t keep changing, you don’t keep changing personnel and a new idea comes in after three or four years and then another new idea comes in.

“It is important then that everyone sticks with that plan and you don’t get too disheartened after two years if something is not happening.

“It takes longer than that. T o really build something takes time.

“In club football it doesn’t always happen because results are a big part of it and managers can lose their jobs if results don’t happen.

“But in terms of going forward for our game, the most important part is that you give someone time to build something and everyone buys into it and then hopefully over a period, if it is five to 10 years, whatever it might be, that you begin to see the fruits of that.”

Skipper Scott Brown is suspended for Saturday’s match but Scott Sinclair returns after recovering from a hamstring injury, w hile fellow winger James Forest is still receiving treatment for his hamstring injury.

Kennedy welcomed back former Aston Villa and Manchester City winger Sinclair, who has made a fine impression since joining Celtic in the summer, scoring 10 goals, but has been out since the Champions League clash with Barcelona on November 23.

Kennedy said: “Scott trained most of the session today so he is back in contention.

“He has been out with a hamstring injury for a period so we have to be cautious but he has trained and could be available which is great.

“Since he has come in he has been first class, a top player.

“He gives us another gear in terms of speed and incision he brings to the attack, it is great to have him back and he will be a big player going forward.

“I knew about him before he came but he is better than I thought he was. I knew he was a good player, knew what he could offer but when you see him up close, he has a real turn of pace that would give any defender a problem but also his calmness in the box, his finishing, his link-up play; he ticks all the boxes so he is a great player for us.”

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