Kids will return Scots to top table

Chris McCart welcomes youngster Brody Paterson to Celtic
Chris McCart welcomes youngster Brody Paterson to Celtic

While the party goes on in Brazil, Scotland has faced another summer left on the sidelines as we once again failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Not since France in 1998 has the Tartan Army been able to rub shoulders with the world’s elite and we even managed not to trouble the match makers at the European Championships since it was held in England in 1996.

The national side has certainly improved lately with Gordon Strachan leading his troops to home and away wins over Croatia and good displays against England and Nigeria.

As such there might just be a glimmer of hope that we can qualify for the next European Championships and book our return to France, however to really cement our place at the top table we probably need to look at the next generation of players.

Happily there is plenty of cause for optisim for former Motherwell captain Chris McCart, who after eight years as head of the academy at Fir Park has now overseen the emergence of the likes of James Forrest, Liam Henderson and John Herron as head of youth development at Celtic.

While the likes of teenage sensations Ryan Gauld and John Soutar at Dundee United captured many of the headlines last season, McCart belives there are many more of that calibre waiting in the wings who can propel us to our first World Cup or European Championship this century.

McCart said: “I think as far as the nation goes we are actually looking in very good shape at youth level.

“For eight years I was head of the academy at Motherwell and then for the last six years I have been at Celtic so I know a lot of the good work that is going on across the country.

“Of course it isn’t just Motherwell and Celtic who are doing well with bringing youngsters, although they certainly are, there is a lot of good work being put in by the academies all over.

“If you want proof you can see can see that from Scotland winning the Victory Shield and getting to the semi-finals of the European Championships at under-17s level, meanwhile both the under-19s and under-21s are both doing very well.

“I think what the SFA and Marc Wotte are doing is a big part of causing this new found optimism, however, a lot of recognition still needs to go to the clubs for the work that goes in every morning and at night.

“There’s a lot of good initiatives going on and a lot more good coaches than ever before with standards in general for facilities, medical knowledge and sports science far improved and getting better.

“This will only help the players and nurture their talent as they go along and with a bit of luck get us back to the World Cup.”