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Former Scotland boss says negativity is holding back bid for better health

FORMER Scotland national ­football team manager Craig Brown has said that a "culture of negativity" is holding back the country's pursuit of better public health.

The coach believes some are too quick to criticise Scotland's sporting heroes such as Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy and that more should be done to encourage people to emulate their success.

Mr Brown spoke out at the Entitled Advancing Excellence in Healthcare conference organised by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow yesterday.

He said role models could be vital in encouraging more people to be active in sport and that the nation's health would be improved by following their example rather than trying to tear them down.

Wimbledon Champion Murray is Britain's number one tennis player and has also won the US Open and Olympic Gold. Sir Chris is the UK's most decorated Olympian, with six Olympic medals to his name.

Craig said: "We're at fault here in Scotland for not promoting role models enough. There's an anti-hero thing in Scotland. People say 'Paul Lawrie didn't win the Open Championship, Jean van de Velde lost it' or 'Alan Wells only won his race because the top Americans didn't turn up.'

"There's a new blood group in Scotland called be Negative and what we have to do is try to get rid of that and promote the ­superstars instead of finding fault.

"We have wonderful role models such as Chris Hoy and Andy Murray who are doing exceptionally well, but people are waiting on them failing."

He added: "There is an identity thing in Scotland where people say 'we're all Jock Tamson's bairns, and we knew him before he was anybody'.

"So we must promote role models and listen to them."

The former football boss, who also managed Aberdeen and Motherwell, made the comments during a public question and answer session on the topic of how to get children involved in sport.

Fellow panel member Dr Frank Dick, President of the European Athletics Coaches Association, said that children respond best to their role models and that there had been success in the past using messages from them to promote healthy activity.

He said: "Uefa a couple of years ago came up with the idea of advising kids on what the ­superstar football players were eating and it was absolutely fantastic.

"Whether they ate that stuff or not we don't know, but they were all seriously healthy diets and it was transforming how young people saw their role models in that aspect of their lives."

The conference, held at the SECC, concludes today.

President of the College, Dr Frank Dunn CBE, said: "The Commonwealth Games offers a once in a generation opportunity to unite the city of Glasgow in delivering a first class event and showcasing our city on the world stage.

"It is also a unique opportunity to shed the 'sick man' image that people associate with our city. We believe Glasgow can lead the world in healthy living and we are committed to doing what we can to achieve this."

"We expect members of the medical profession attending this event to take away a strong message on the benefits of exercise and how to inspire their patients to lead healthy lives."

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