SHELLEY Kerr may feel as if she has enough on her plate trying to get the Scotland women’s team out of their World Cup qualifying group, but even the difficulty of that task may pale in comparison to the one she might have been taking on had Steve Clarke turned down the job with the men’s team.

Chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, Ian Maxwell, has revealed that Kerr’s name came up in discussions when the governing body was looking to replace Alex McLeish. In the end, Clarke, who was the number one choice for the role, decided to accept, but Maxwell says that doesn’t mean a woman won’t be in charge of the men’s national team one day. And it still very well could be Kerr.

“We absolutely could [see a woman in charge of the men's team]," Maxwell said. I don’t see any reason why not. There were a few people suggested [Shelley Kerr] for this time around so I definitely wouldn’t rule that out either.

“I think Steve was always the obvious candidate for it [this time]. He was the one we wanted straight away, and we are delighted we got him.”

It might not be a given that Kerr would accept the role however, with Maxwell believing that there will be men’s clubs out there who will have been impressed by what she has achieved with her country.

“She already has managed Stirling University and I could see that happening further up the pyramid,” he said.

“She’s an incredible ambassador for Scottish football, she handles herself so well and I don’t see Shelley having any issue achieving in the men’s game either.”

Any fans of the Scotland women’s team bracing themselves for Kerr’s departure though should note that she isn’t in any hurry to go anywhere just at the minute, and she has in fact recently extended her contract with the SFA until after the European Championships in 2021.

Maxwell would like to extend it even further mind you.

“Shelley’s mindset is ‘you know what, I’m loving being at the World Cup, I want to try and get us to the Euros, and we’ll see what happens after that’. Which is absolutely fine.”

For an organisation that has been dogged by allegations of of cronyism for decades, the fact that this kind of chat from their chief executive doesn’t come across as contrived is a sign of progress in terms of widening the diversity within the governing body.

Less so was the sight of new president Rod Petrie being unveiled alongside his fellow middle-aged white men Maxwell, as chief executive and Mike Mulraney, the new vice-president.

But Maxwell contends that the organisation under his watch and for some time before have been one of the most forward-thinking and diverse governing bodies in the game. And their investment in the women’s game proves it.

“I think we definitely are,” he said. “There’s been a lot of investment over a number of years and we’re reaping the rewards of that now in getting to the World Cup.

“That’s something that will continue, and women’s football is definitely on a journey.

“You see the game on Tuesday night when Thailand obviously had a really poor result, so there are big gulfs, but having watched Belgium against us it’s not outwith the realms of possibility that they could go and beat someone 13-0 because they have an incredible squad.

“When you think about the numbers that volunteer in football, watch it, referee it, coach it, there’s millions of people in a country of five million people that have some engagement in football. Every other house has some involvement.

“It’s incredible and being able to try and harness that as the governing body is a challenge, but it’s also really encouraging that there is that instant fanbase out there.”

Will that new found commitment to increasing the number of women participating in the game extend one day to the boardroom, with the likes of Ann Budge at Hearts maybe even leading the organisation one day though?

“I know Ann from my time on the SPFL board,” Maxwell said.

“The nomination process is that the SPFL board nominate onto the PGB, then the PGB will nominate two onto the main board, so if Ann goes through that process there is no reason why she wouldn’t be a very effective board member alongside our new president and VP.

“When you look back, it wasn’t that long ago that nobody would have seen a female owner of a club or a female chair, so there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a female president.”