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6:19:14 PM
Romanov's Scots slight condemned

Alex Smith, chairman of the Scottish Managers' Association
Smith believes there is a wealth of managerial talent in Scotland

Alex Smith, chairman of the Scottish Managers' Association, has slammed Vladimir Romanov's comments about the limitations of home-grown coaches.

The Hearts owner told BBC Sport that local managers were part of a "Scottish Mafia" and too set in their ways.

"We would treat comments like that with utter contempt," Smith said.

"We are a small nation and we are in the top 20 in the world, which is a great compliment to the managers, coaches and players in Scotland."

Romanov, who is searching for a new manager at Tynecastle, has gone through a host of coaches since taking control of the club.

Among those have been Scots John Robertson, George Burley, John McGlynn and Stephen Frail.

"I remember him trying one local by the name of George Burley," said former Dundee United and Aberdeen boss Smith.

"I was at the game at Celtic Park when they drew 1-1 and were sitting top of the league after nine games.

"He was sacked a few days later and, since then, Hearts have been tumbling down the league.

"That's not due to poor performances from Scottish managers, it's due to Mr Romanov's constant changing.

"He's the owner and he can do what he wants, but he shouldn't bring Scottish managers into disrepute."

Frail was caretaker boss for much of last season but was asked to stay away from the club's pre-season preparations, while Romanov failed to lure Mark McGhee away from Motherwell.

"Stephen Frail was treated abominably," said Smith. "He was a promising young coach thrust into a demanding situation and he did it with great dignity.


"Mark McGhee has tremendous playing and coaching experience.

"He's taken Motherwell into Europe and is an outstanding Scottish manager - one of many.

"The Scottish Football Association coaching courses are well thought of and the last four or five directors of coaching have been superb.

"Coaches are always in touch with each other, looking for advice and support and if that's an accusation of being a mafia then so be it."

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