May 26 (Reuters) - The lack of fully professional clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has handcuffed the sport in the country, former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan said.
Almost half of Scotland's 42 professional clubs utilise players on a part-time basis, according to the BBC, and Strachan, who is the technical director at Championship side Dundee, believes this is holding the sport back.
"If you want to be a professional club, show it," Strachan, 63, told the BBC. "Have full-time employees, full-time players, an academy... Just don't play at being a football team and expect us to look after you.
"When you talk about clubs coming into the league, what are they bringing in? Two hundred people per week to a game, is that really professional football?
"Don’t tell me you’re a professional club when you’re paying people part-time 80 quid a week and nobody turns up to your football matches.”
Strachan, who previously coached English Premier League side Southampton, bemoaned the poor quality of football in Scotland and said several SPFL clubs would struggle to stay afloat even in the lower tiers of English soccer.
"If you think giving a good product is watching two teams in the bottom half of the Scottish Premiership playing on a plastic pitch, you’re kidding yourself," Strachan, who was capped 50 times by Scotland, added.
Clubs have struggled to weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought an early end to the Scottish season, and Strachan believes the shutdown should be used to bring about changes in the way the game is marketed.
"I just think we get over this period, see where we all are, how we all come out it... I’m sure if we do it properly, our product can be 100%t better than it is right now." (Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)