Ferguson predicted the decline of Scots game

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The Independent Football

The Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, claims the seeds for the Scottish game's problems were sown many years ago.

Berti Vogts' hold on the Scottish coach's job is looking increasingly tenuous after a dismal two-and-a-half years in charge of the national side. Scotland have collected just two points from their opening three World Cup qualifiers and the Scottish Football Association board are due to meet again to discuss Vogts' position.

However, Ferguson feels the former Germany coach has been handicapped by a lack of talent north of the border.

"I could see the dangers many years ago," he said. "You can go back to the early 1980s when the teachers stopped looking after the kids' football. That was the first downfall because schools football was disciplined and I thought it was the foundation for all the best players.

"At the same time boys club football had emerged very powerfully but that is a different animal because there's a competitive element that maybe you don't need. Therefore you maybe take away the practice ethic with your boys.

"You need to concentrate on the practice part rather than the playing because as you know, anyone can play in a game of football but it doesn't mean to say you are a footballer."

He added: "Maybe the lack of funding is a problem but I believe there are one or two players beginning to emerge further down the line."

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