Former First Minister Henry McLeish has called for Scotland to spearhead a bid for the 2030 World Cup.

The ex-Labour politician has urged the Scottish Government and the SFA to "show ambition" and start a campaign for the home nations to host the tournament.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail, he said: "People talk about ambition a lot, but they rarely indulge in it. We might fail if we try this, but we need to forget that and give it a try because ambition will make a country and for football this can be our time if we choose to strive.

“It can’t be a matter of making noises from the sidelines. If we are the country we think we are, we should be boldly pursuing the goal.

“There is no reason why Scotland shouldn’t lead a British bid to host the 2030 World Cup. Nicola Sturgeon needs to rise to the challenge, show serious intent, and make this happen along with the SFA.

“FIFA is likely to be looking for a European bid and Scotland could be a part of that, but we need to strike a note of optimism.

“I would say to the First Minister, this is a great opportunity to put Scotland back on the world stage for football.

“The time is now and I would advise you to take it. Our sports minister needs to get involved with the SFA. It is not early days. Big tournaments require a lot of thinking and work, so 12 years is a short time.

“We have the facilities, we will have a big involvement in the European Championships in two years time, so this can happen.”

The SFA is said to be open to submitting a joint bid with the home nations, but insisted that no talks have taken place on the matter.

The Scottish and UK Governments have also both supported the idea in theory.

Mr McLeish believes Scotland should now take the initiative and get things started.

The Scottish Government said a bid for the World Cup was “a matter for the football authorities”, but added: “We would consider any proposal seriously should one come forward.”

The SFA said the focus was on Scotland’s involvement in Euro 2020, but added: “We are always open-minded to the prospect of hosting major tournaments.”