SFA performance director Mackay: Judge me by my actions over next period of time

Malky Mackay claimed he had a deep knowledge of equality issues as he asked to be judged on future actions following his appointment as Scottish Football Association performance director. Mackay has landed his first job since the end of a Football Association investigation into a series of text messages exchanged between himself and his head of recruitment, Iain Moody, while he was Cardiff manager. The FA took no action, citing Mackay's expectation of privacy and his voluntary undertaking of programmes to educate himself on equality issues, but that decision was condemned by anti-racism, Jewish and gender equality groups.However, Mackay insists he has bettered himself significantly and the SFA even claimed his recent experiences could help their equality and diversity programmes.The former Scotland international, who was hired and fired by Wigan during the course of the 11-month FA probe, told a Hampden media conference: "Three years ago I apologised publicly and in front of cameras. I apologised privately for the three texts to the two gentlemen that I spoke about."And for the last three years I have been involved in diversity and equality meetings and basically been on an education to the point where I probably know more about it than anybody in this room in terms of then actually going on to talk to young players and coaches concerning it."I suppose in any part of what you do it's about educating yourself generally. In the last couple of years I have been seeking out best practice all over the world in football and other sports. You are educating yourself and I think that can make you better in any field you are involved in."Mackay, who replaces Brian McClair as the man responsible for producing Scottish footballers of the future, did not directly answer when twice asked whether he accepted what he wrote had been racist. "What I said at the time I deeply regret," he said. "But it's about learning from that and going on from there, and making sure that my understanding of what happened there, I can pass on to others." The 44-year-old stated he had an open-door policy to any coach, journalist, young player or stakeholder. "Come in and talk to me and I've got to prove by my actions, but then you can judge by yourself," he said. " People that know me know exactly what I am and who I am, but if you don't know me, judge me by what you see going forward." Mackay has already convinced the SFA decision-makers, to the extent that chief executive Stewart Regan feels his recent history can be a positive. Regan said: "We accept Malky has made mistakes: he said things that were regrettable. But he has shown genuine remorse and we were impressed and encouraged by the actions he has taken since coming out and apologising for what he said. "We actually believe that Malky will be a force for good for Scottish football. He will be part of our equality and diversity strategy and be a real advocate for the role. "We believe he should be given the chance to put his football skills and expertise into practice and he can talk to young players and coaches, and actually we use that positively as part of our strategy." Regan confirmed the SFA had prior knowledge of legal action from Cardiff against Mackay and other individuals, pursuing damages relating to transfer deals, and insisted their due diligence had been thorough.The potential High Court case emerged in newspaper reports hours before Mackay's appointment was confirmed. Reports of the text message dossier broke just before Crystal Palace shelved plans to appoint him as their manager in 2014. Mackay, who was sacked by Cardiff in December 2013 after his relationship with owner Vincent Tan broke down, said: "I was waiting on it. It was something I had spoken to Stewart about and something my legal advisers had advised the SFA about on an early basis. "I categorically deny that I have done anything wrong there and there is no shred of evidence against me, but I do respect the legal process."Before dismissing concerns that the appointment would divide the game, Regan described Mackay as the "stand-out" candidate and praised his leadership skills and strategic thinking.Mackay added that his work with the pioneering Watford academy, his understanding of managers' difficulties in playing young players, and his experience of implementing strategies at Cardiff would serve him well."Judge me by my actions over the next period of time," he said. "I believe that my skill set and the clubs I have been involved in - I have been involved in boardrooms in terms of strategy and planning - give me an understanding of that part of this job."In terms of coaching, how to talk to players, how to talk to coaches, how to go in and talk to managers, the access I have got to managers in Scotland, allows me the chance to follow on from my two predecessors because there was good work done by Mark Wotte and Brian McClair."

Source: PA