The Labour political mastermind behind the famously transformative Glasgow's Miles Better campaign has praised the SNP leadership for its efforts to boost the fortunes of the beleaguered city.

Writing exclusively in today's Herald, former Lord Provost Michael Kelly has set out his blueprint for transforming the current negative views on Scotland's largest city and shoring up the future of Glasgow.

Facing allegations of decline, particularly in the city centre, the current SNP administration has come under constant fire for its leadership in recent months.

Dr Kelly, who was Lord Provost from 1980 to 1984, was instrumental in what was one of the most successful PR branding campaigns by a UK local authority.

Featuring the famous Mr Happy, which appeared on merchandise worldwide - except in Edinburgh, where the then-district council banned the ad campaign from buses.

It revived the city's fortunes and is credited with enticing investment that led to the building of the SEC and the Hydro.

Glasgow has, however, been suffering allegations of severe decline with complaints about empty shopfronts in the city centre; an increase in fly tipping, litter and rats; and sense of a lack of investment.

Dr Kelly said: "Despite the fact that Glasgow can still occasionally perform effectively on the international stage the gut feeling is that not only is the city drifting slowly down in terms of economic performance but that it is beginning to lose heart.

"The outstanding success of the Commonwealth Games and the ease with which the city carried off the management of COP 26 are witness to a city that has still got its wits about it when it comes to winning and staging significant major events.

"Yet many Glaswegians who have been temporary encouraged by these successes have made the stark contrast to their everyday experience of stagnation and decline symbolised by rubbish strewing public spaces.

"This has brought home how far short in so many ways our city has neglectfully fallen into reverse gear - the deep pockets of deprivation, continuing bad health, an aged infrastructure, a labour force poorly skilled for the future."

Dr Kelly, who was also rector of the University of Glasgow in the 1980s, said the city is currently "grinding along in the lowest gear" when compared to elsewhere in the UK.

But he was not critical of the current administration, saying: "The local authority has made a sound, if belated, start."

He believes the key to regeneration is a focus on the benefits of collaboration within the Glasgow City Region, a body formed of 11 local authorities including Glasgow and surrounding council areas.

Looking inwards, he added, is not the answer to solving Glasgow's problems but the city's politicians should be looking overseas for "strategic partners" in different policy contexts. Dr Kelly said: "We have to find ways of seeing ourselves as others see us. And take on board what they say."

Current issues vary greatly from the former Labour politician's days in Glasgow District Council and an "advertising campaign won't cut the mustard", he added, saying Glasgow's Miles Better was an attempt to show the city's good side to the world.

Now, the focus must be on attracting investment, supporting start-up businesses and ensuring education establishments are training young people for the jobs of the future.

He added: "A vibrant Glasgow, our biggest city, can pump energy into the whole of the country. Investing in Glasgow has no downside.

"It will only generate employment, public and private prosperity and a wealth that will benefit the whole of Scotland."

To read Dr Kelly's full agenda for improving the future of Glasgow see here.