McKie promises a thorough process to choose Scotland's new head coach
Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Gordon McKie has told BBC Scotland that there have been almost 30 applications for the vacant Scotland head coach job.
McKie said he was delighted with the pedigree of the applicants, of whom six to eight "had the potential to go forward to the next stage".
The five-man selection panel includes three former captains and Lions.
Andy Irvine, Andy Nicol, Gordon Bulloch, SRU chair Alan Munro and McKie will choose Frank Hadden's successor.
McKie told BBC's Rugby Sportsound: "We were keen to get a strong rugby bias on to the panel.
"We don't want the 'suits' to make the appointment. We want the people who know rugby to assist us.
"It's a critically important appointment. We've got to get this right. The process will be very thorough.
"We will also be taking soundings from other people in the game - not yet named - and we are also delighted to secure the assistance of the Scottish Institute of Sport.
"We've got a very good list of home and overseas candidates and, contrary to rumour, some of them are of a very high pedigree and we're delighted with the response."
The SRU's chief executive insisted that his organisation should not be accused of penny-pinching when considering who to appoint.
"We will pay the market rate to get the right guy, who in turn will be allowed to bring in the right calibre of backroom staff to take the team forward to the World Cup in 2011."
Despite the gloom that descended on the sport in Scotland after a solitary victory in this year's Six Nations tournament, McKie was bullish about the attractiveness of the post and the health of rugby in the country.
Andy Irvine, Andy Nicol and Gordon Bulloch will interview candidates
"I believe what we have is an exciting opportunity for a capable coach to take over the Scotland national team, which is clearly a leading nation," said McKie.
"We've got a good young group of players playing in Edinburgh and Glasgow, each of whom have made progress, we've had good attendances and all the fundamentals are there.
"As a nation, we are all joined up. We own our pro teams so we don't have the same issues that other nations have in respect of releasing players in Scotland."
McKie would not be drawn on who had applied for the head coach role, nor would he reveal the nationality of the half dozen or so who might be interviewed.
However, it is known that Edinburgh coach Andy Robinson and former All Black Mike Brewer have declared their interest in the post.
Robinson was on the coaching staff when England won the World Cup in 2003 but endured a torrid time when he stepped up to succeed Sir Clive Woodward.
Brewer joined the Scotland set-up last year as forwards coach and he considers Six Nations champions Ireland to be a good model for making improvements.
Scotland have won just one match in each of the last three Six Nations campaigns and only two Scots, Euan Murray and Nathan Hines, were called up for the British and Irish Lions expedition to South Africa.
Hadden stepped down at the beginning of the month after a disappointing Six Nations campaign.
The former Edinburgh coach, 54, was given the job in September 2005 and enjoyed success in his first Six Nations, recording three victories.
However, the 2007, 2008 and 2009 campaigns yielded just one win each.
Hadden may be handed a role in the new Scotland set-up.
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