Scotland: Billy Stark appointed national youth coach

Billy Stark
Billy Stark will take up his new role in July

Former Scotland Under-21s manager Billy Stark has been appointed as a national youth coach with the Scottish FA.

Stark succeeds Donald Park in July and will take charge of the Under-19s as well as education programmes.

The 61-year-old, who most recently managed Lowland League club East Kilbride, says he feels he is a better coach than at any time in his career.

"Experience does that for you and I want to use what I've learned in a productive way," he said.

Stark coached the Under-21s for six years and says the latest call "came out of the blue".

"I'm delighted to be back. It was a bit out of the blue but I am really appreciative of the opportunity and grateful to [SFA performance director] Malky Mackay.

'One of the best coaches'

"I'm looking forward to taking the Under-19s and involving myself with the other work carried out by the performance department.

"Donald did a great job and it's my hope to pick up where he left off.

"I think it's important to say that the clubs work hard to develop the players and there is a lot of excellent work being done.

Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths
Stark has worked with players like Leigh Griffiths, who has gone on to gain full Scotland honours

"What I - and we - have to do is make sure we give the boys a good experience when they join up with the international team.

"It always filled me with pride to see younger players I'd worked with go on to achieve full honours with the national team - like Leigh Griffiths, who was in my first Under-19 squad."

Stark added that he was relishing the prospect of working alongside fellow national youth team coaches Brian McLaughlin and Scot Gemmill.

Mackay said in Stark the SFA have recruited "one of the best coach educators in the country".

"His vast experience as a manager, an assistant manager and a coach educator will be a real asset to us and I am delighted to welcome him back to the SFA," Mackay added.

"I know Billy has played a big part in the development of some of the country's best players and I'm looking forward to the next crop getting the benefit of his expertise."