ENGLAND'S new manager may be the epitome of cosmopolitan cool - and a winner with a capital W, according to FA chief executive Brian Barwick - but Fabio Capello's coaching credentials were buffed-up on a blustery afternoon at Shawfield Stadium.

The Italian has pledged to take his new charges to the very top but, having fulfilled his longing for a job in English football, The Herald can reveal that, by taking over from Steve McClaren, he is not undertaking his first job in British football.

Capello was a special guest of the Scottish Football Association back in the early 1980s and, during a three-week stay, joined Craig Brown for some on-site coaching at Clyde and even took charge of a Scotland youth team training session in Paisley.

Last night, Andy Roxburgh, the former Scotland manager who is now UEFA's technical director, recalled Capello's student exchange trip to Scotland from more than 25 years ago and believes the cultural differences he overcame then will stand him in good stead for one of the most demanding jobs in world football.

Roxburgh was the catalyst for Capello's arrival. His relationship with Arrigo Sacchi, the former Italy national coach, facilitated the arrival of four Italian coaches - Marcello Lippi and Giovanni Trappatoni were among them - the year before Capello's Busman's Holiday for a similar stint at the SFA coaching headquarters in Largs.

"Fabio effectively came over as a student and we arranged for him to work with Craig Brown at Clyde," said Roxburgh. "I actually let him take charge of a youth team training session. I can't remember what age group it was but we were due to be playing abroad and he took charge of the team in Paisley.

"It was a good practice session and I remember him saying the most difficult aspect of working in Scotland was the wind because it affected the trajectory of the ball and made it difficult to work on technique. It was hard to keep the goalposts standing up because the weather was so bad. He had better get used to it now."

Capello is now lord of the manor at the newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium, having accepted the Football Association's offer of £6m per year to restore England's respectability. Brown has long been impressed with Capello's coaching capabilities but remembers his first division championship-winning Clyde squad of 1981-82 being smitten by the former Juventus player's skills on a sodden Shawfield turf.

"He exuded an air of authority even back then but what I will never forget is the sight of him, resplendent in his camel coat, kicking a ball as high as possible on a pitch that was caked in mud and trapping it perfectly on his neck, mud and all," said Brown. "It was an unbelievable piece of skill, and one that really impressed my squad, even aside from the fact that he did it with his designer clothes on.

"It is a major coup for England getting Fabio Capello; I suppose we can say he learned his trade at Shawfield Stadium."

Roxburgh has retained a close friendship with Capello from his base in Nyon, Switzerland. During various coaching functions and awards ceremonies, the head of UEFA's coaching strategists has traditionally introduced Capello by referencing his finest achievement as an Italian internationalist: scoring a winner against England at Wembley in 1974.

That protocol may now have to be ditched in the interests of diplomacy but Roxburgh is convinced that Capello learned enough about the physical prerequisites of British football to succeed where Sven-Goran Eriksson ultimately failed.

"I remember in 1994, when he was in charge of AC Milan in the European Cup final against Barcelona, I told him as they were warming up to remember what he learned in Glasgow," said Roxburgh. "He looked at me quizzically until I told him remember we used to say get your tackles in first' because Scotland at that time used to play well off the tackle. He just looked at me and said I think we will be okay' and he was right: they beat Barcelona 4-0 in what was a magnificent exhibition of world-class football.

"We often speak about that game and, in fact, did so not so long ago.

"I think becoming England manager is the one outstanding challenge for him because he has always made noises about working in England. He has been a success in Italy and Spain and no doubt he can do the same for England."

Roxburgh was diplomatically vague on the Scottish Football Association's ongoing search for Alex McLeish's replacement. At present, Joe Jordan, Mark McGhee and Billy Davies are the leading contenders and, while Roxburgh's ultimate preferences are unattainable, he is heartened by the short-list of candidates who have graduated from the much-maligned Largs.

"What I will say is that Walter Smith and Alex were ideal for what Scotland needed," he said.

"Unfortunately, the most obvious ones to replace them just aren't available because they are doing very well, and by that I am talking about Alex Ferguson and David Moyes. It would be great if Sir Alex could work part-time for Manchester United but there is no chance of persuading him.

"The beauty of our coaching system was that we had excellent groups who came through together. We encouraged our international players to take their coaching badges at a young age and, indeed, Alex did his at 25. From one group we had Alex McLeish, Roy Aitken, Tommy Burns, Gordon Strachan and Mark McGhee, so the course did not do too badly for their careers."

The new manager will inherit a team on the rise but with it comes the traditional curse of expectation. "It was an incredible hard-luck story not to qualify for Euro 2008 on the final day against Italy," said Roxburgh, "but we do not have a competitive game until September, so the SFA are right to take their time.

"There are two elements to the job as it stands: the new man comes into a team in a position of strength but with that comes increased expectation."

Capello will know all about that soon enough.