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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 17:00 UK

Jack hits out as position is axed

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith
Smith is said to have wanted a new direction for the relationship

Ross Jack has criticised the decision to axe his post as the Scottish Institute of Sport's high-performance football coach.

The former Dunfermline striker said that his programme was working well and had support of Scottish football clubs.

But executive director Mike Whittingham said that the institute had no option because the Scottish FA had decided on a change of direction.

The SFA confirmed that it felt that coaching was best done by the clubs.

Jack had been leading the programme set up six years ago to attract Scotland's elite young club players and develop them to international standard.

And the coach, whose programme was the result of a recent review, told BBC Sport: "The review was very much in my favour.

Young players talk about how the scheme benefited them

"It is said that you need 10 years for a culture change and we were just at the start of that culture change.

"To say that some of the clubs were not buying into it is not true.

"I am still waiting for clarification about the decision, which is a mystery to me."

Jack pointed out that he had been working recently with 16 young players from Rangers.

The SFA are happy with their team of coaches and our coach is not part of that team

Scottish Institute of Sport executive director Mike Whittingham

Among those to come through the institute have been West Brom striker Craig Beattie, Dundee goalkeeper Craig Samson, Livingston pair Graeme Dorrans and Robert Snodgrass and Falkirk duo Scott Arfield and Tam Scobie.

Among the areas where the players received help were diet and nutrition, sprinting, strength and conditioning, physiology, psychology and lifestyle management.

But the SFA said in a statement: "After a review of this specific programme, it was felt that, as much of the coaching of our best young players is now being undertaken by clubs, we could best add value by concentrating on other areas of player development - most notably sport science."

And Whittingham insisted that the institute's relationship would be strengthened following meetings with new SFA chief executive Gordon Smith.

"It's regrettable when you lose good staff," he said.


"But we have not necessarily had the impact we wanted in the Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20s and the SFA say they run that in-house.

"The SFA are happy with their team of coaches and our coach is not part of that team.

"We are exploring a new kind of partnership, which will probably provide high-performance experience in sports science and, sports medicine maybe, to the SFA."

Whittingham thought that Scotland's Commonwealth Games efforts could benefit.

"One thing Gordon Smith is very keen on is helping us provide talent for those sports that might not necessarily think about tapping into football," he said.

"So, some of the footballers who might not make it in terms of professional contracts, we might be looked at recruiting them in terms of hockey, netball and other sports in relation to 2014."