IAN Maxwell, chief executive of the Scottish FA, believes Steve Clarke can persuade those players who have turned their back on Scotland of a return to international football.

Alex McLeish was forced to deal with more players making themselves unavailable or pulling out of squads than any other Scotland manager in history during his short-lived reign.

However, Maxwell was confident his first-choice of manager has the presence and charisma to tempt the likes of Steven Fletcher, Robert Snodgrass and Tom Cairney to become part of the new era for the national side.

"That’s a fundamental part of the job," insisted the SFA chief. "As much as getting the team structured and finding us a way of playing, a big part of the job is making sure every single player who is eligible to play for Scotland wants to come and be part of an international squad.

“He has worked with incredibly top level players at every club he has been at. I saw a list of 24 players he coached at Chelsea and Liverpool and we are talking about top, top names. They all speak very highly of him - his coaching methods, his man-management skills.

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: Maxwell basks in SFA being popular for once as fans back Clarke

“That will obviously be put to the test over the coming weeks and months. That’s a big, big part of the job - making sure that everyone who can play for Scotland is desperate to come and be part of the international squad."

Maxwell spoke to Derek McInnes and Scot Gemmill about replacing McLeish but yesterday was adamant that the manager of Kilmarnock always topped his list.

"Steve was the number one target from the outset - absolutely," said Maxwell. "The record he had at Kilmarnock, when you look at how that translates into international football - the similarities between what he did there and what he is going to have to do with Scotland. It meant he was far and away the best guy.

“That translates into international football - the similarities between what he did there and what he is going to have to do with Scotland. It meant he was far and away the best guy.

“He was the number one target from the outset - absolutely. The record he had at Kilmarnock, when you look at how that translates into international football - the similarities between what he did there and what he is going to have to do with Scotland. It meant he was far and away the best guy.

“It was always the preferred option to get someone in before the double-header (against Cyprus and Belgium.” If we couldn’t have done it for whatever reason then an interim coach would have been an alternative option.

“A permanent manager is always what we had wanted.

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: McStay believes old team-mate Clarke should target Euro 2020 play-offs

“There have been time challenges. Kilmarnock have just finished and we have to be respectful of them and the job that he’s done there with their bid to finish third and they’ve done that.

“They have saw that out and it couldn’t have finished any better on Sunday.

“I think that has also helped the reaction with the way the season finished as it’s been a bit of a fairytale for everybody. But permanent was always the preferred choice."

Maxwell revealed he had belief Clarke would say yes after a their first meeting.

“That’s the feeling I had straight away, absolutely," he said. "We had the best part of three hours together and chatted through a whole range of issues.

"It was very clear early on that he was very interested in the job so to be able to get things over the line was really pleasing."

Clarke's No2 at Rugby Park, Alex Dyer, will join Clarke and is also expected to stay at Kilmarnock. Former Republic of Ireland right-back Steven Reid is also expected to join the coaching staff.

It has been the case more often than not that the Scotland assistant has been part-time.

"That will be down to him," said Maxwell. "It’s all been a bit quick over the last 24-48 hours but he’s had a bit of thought about it. I've got no thoughts about who it is. It’s about getting the right structure around him and whoever that is, it’s his decision."