Scotland may need sponsor to pay for a top manager

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The Independent Football

The Scottish Football Association will only seek a financial sponsor for a new national coach if the preferred candidate is out of their price range.

The Republic of Ireland were able to employ Giovanni Trapattoni after entrepreneur Denis O'Brien donated £1.5million to pay half of the former Italy manager's salary over two years.

While the Irish were denied a World Cup play-off penalty shoot-out by the hand of France striker Thierry Henry, Scotland finished third in their group under George Burley, who was reported to be on £300,000 a year.

The SFA chief executive, Gordon Smith, yesterday revealed there were some eye-catching names among the applicants to replace the sacked Burley, but he will compile a shortlist before deciding whether a financial backer is needed.

"We talked about the fact Ireland have Trapattoni as manager but he is sponsored," Smith said. "But we don't have a sponsor for the manager. That would be another factor completely. If we looked at the salary aspect beyond the levels we can afford to pay, we would have to get a sponsor for that."

The new manager will take over at a time when pessimism permeates Scottish football but Smith insists there is hope for the future despite criticism of youth development.

Smith was speaking at a festival to mark the success of the SFA and Bank of Scotland's Soccer One programme, which has created more than 1,000 school football teams.

"It's about volunteers. We give them their coaching course free on the basis that they also volunteer to help run youth football.

"Going forward the game will be in a healthy state. A lot of people are very critical of it, I think more critical than we deserve. It's a lot more positive but we still have to make sure we put the right things in place."