By general consent, Campbell Ogilvie is one of the most decent men you could meet, yet the Scottish Football Association president has endured a horrible past 18 months.

"There have been plenty times when I have walked in here at the SFA and thought: 'I've had enough of this,'" Ogilvie told me, citing the venom and poison he has had to face.

The SFA is currently undertaking one of the biggest initiatives in its history - implementing the Henry McLeish Report - yet Ogilvie, as president, has had to endure another acute worry. He has felt tarred by his association with the whole EBTs controversy at Rangers.

For a man who is renowned for his integrity within the game, it was quite something this week to sit down with Ogilvie and hear of the personal wounds he has suffered. Lord Nimmo Smith, in his guilty verdict on Rangers, was damning of the Ibrox board who concealed the EBT payments from the relevant bodies, and cited Ogilvie as a member of that board.

Ogilvie, for his part, has had to defend himself against some strident voices who wanted him removed from his position at the SFA.

"The EBTs were set up around 2001 at Rangers and I've never hidden from the fact that I was then a director at the club," he says. "But I didn't get involved in the financial management of the club in that context. That's not an excuse - that's just a fact. I ceased being Rangers' secretary in 2002 and I ceased being involved in the football admin at Rangers in 2002.

"But, yes, I remained a director until 2005, and that's why in recent times I got sucked into the EBTs saga, especially in my role now as SFA president. Had I not been in this role, nobody would have been concerned with me."

Is there a case for saying that Ogilvie - guilty by association given Nimmo Smith's verdict - should have stood down? He pleads his innocence, though intriguingly, he also wishes he had never come across any EBTs at all.

"I feel I've been totally up front about it," says Ogilvie. "I had an EBT at Rangers, and the bulk of it was to do with me leaving the club in 2005. I'd no thought of leaving Rangers but I was being more and more pushed to one side at the club. It was made very evident there wasn't a future for me at Rangers.

"When I left, I didn't have a job to go to, and I had a family to look after. At the time the best deal for me was to take this EBT. It was worth in the region of £90,000 but the bulk of it was [a payment] over me leaving. At the time it seemed the most beneficial thing for me to do, for me and my family, given that I was leaving Rangers with no job to go to. But, looking back now, I'd never have gone near it had I thought there might be any question marks over it.

"Maybe as a director I should have asked more questions about it - I accept that now - but when things are signed off by legal people, by accountants, I tended to accept it. I'm not saying the EBTs were illegal. But, knowing all the hassle that they caused, with hindsight, if I could go back, I wouldn't go down that road."

Since Nimmo Smith, the calls for Ogilvie to go became shrill and frequent across cyberspace - very often with venom thrown in for good measure. Ogilvie is quite open about the affect all this had on him. He admits that some of the stuff he read on the internet ate away at him for months.

"Absolutely, totally," he says. "With my role here at the SFA, my name was the one that kept coming up, and it became pretty galling for me and my family. Because of the Rangers situation, and my involvement at the club back then and my involvement now at the SFA, a focus fell upon me, and it took its toll. I had to stop looking at various websites, because nameless people were spouting totally inaccurate information, and it got to me."

And he considered resigning? "Yes, plenty. Not because I felt I had done anything wrong, but because of the pressures that arose. There was madness going on out there. I would go home at night, my family would be affected, and some of the stuff that was flying around about me was sheer vitriol. On websites, my wife and my girls would be mentioned. It had quite an impact on me.

"My view hasn't changed. I'm not an accountant and I'm not a financial man. Looking back, I never questioned the EBTs. As far as I was concerned they were totally above board - they had been signed off by lawyers."

Things are cooler and better now. And what kept Ogilvie going is, first, the goodwill towards him right across Scottish football and, second, his passionate desire to preside over the implementation of the McLeish Report, wherein Scotland's former first minister advocated sweeping changes in our game.

Ogilvie is halfway through his four-year term as president, and is seizing his opportunity to make Scottish football better. "I've been determined to drive through the McLeish Report," he says. "I was a vice-president here at the SFA when it was commissioned, but I gave up my Hearts job in 2009 because I wanted to put everything I had into this. I'm passionate about our youth development, about giving our youngsters the best possible chance in football."

Ironically, when asked about the state of our game, Ogilvie once more willingly points the finger back upon himself. "There is an old phrase in football - 'talent is nothing without opportunity' - and that was definitely the case in Scotland over the years.

"Look, I admit it: clubs like Rangers and other clubs had big-money signing policies, and other clubs tried to keep pace with Rangers. Everyone was bringing foreigners in and paying over the odds for them - it was never going to work out.

"I was at Rangers and I was thoroughly enjoying the signing of big-name players. Everyone did. But, looking back, I question it much more. In general, at Scottish clubs, young players didn't get the opportunity. Players not getting the opportunity at Rangers and elsewhere - that is definitely a factor in our game's decline."

Now, under Ogilvie and chief executive Stewart Regan, the SFA is feverishly setting up performance academies and other programmes in order to bring about improvement. "We've got these special academies . . . seven centres established. It is a four-year plan. Four hundred talented kids will go through them over a four-year period. It is about elite talent development, time on the ball, skills development.

"Scotland's football decline since France '98 has been gradual and steady. But I really believe over the next few years we will start to see improvement. I hope so."