SCOTLAND, you may have heard, isn’t producing the footballers that we used to. But perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised. Because nowhere does Sir Alex Ferguson’s boast about the “master race” ring hollower right now than where it comes to the ranks of the coaches who have it in their power to bring them through.

As recently as the 2011-12 season, what was only half-jokingly known as the Largs Mafia still had the the English top-flight in a half nelson. No fewer than seven Scottish-born managers occupied one of the 20 hot seats in the Premier League.

Sir Alex Ferguson was in his pomp at Old Trafford, with Kenny Dalglish and David Moyes the main men on Merseyside. Charlie Adam, Kenny Miller, Craig Conway, Don Cowie, Kevin McNaughton and David Marshall were all involved – not to mention future Rangers manager Steven Gerrard - when Dalglish’s Liverpool overcame Malky Mackay’s Cardiff City to claim the Carling Cup final that year, keeping the trophy in Scottish hands after Alex McLeish’s Birmingham City had win it 12 months earlier.

But it wasn’t only in England where the so-called “master race” were having their way. In that summer of 2011, three quarters, or nine of the 12 managerial posts in the Scottish top-flight, belonged to native Scotsmen.

Fast forward eight years and the difference is shocking. Not a single Scottish manager is currently in charge of a club in the English top tier in 2019-20. The closest we have is former Hamilton Accies manager Billy Reid, who is assistant to Graham Potter at Brighton and Hove Albion. And Ian Cathro – remember him? – who has settled quietly into his existence as first-team coach at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Okay, so top clubs in cash-rich England can now scour the globe for big name managers like Pep Guardiola, a Jurgen Klopp or even a Daniel Farke but one other illustration of the quiet revolution which is going on south of the border is the fact no fewer than eight of the 20 Premier League posts belong to Englishmen. This was previously unheard of.

But surely, I hear you ask, these things are cyclical? Surely, a new wave of Scottish managerial talent is just around the corner?

Sadly, with one glaring exception – another man from the Hamilton Accies school – I wouldn’t hold my breath for a fresh regiment of Tartan reinforcements any time soon. That man is Alex Neil of Preston North End. The only Scottish manager in the top two English divisions, he spent last week at the summit of the SkyBet Championship table. Still only 38, he is both immersed in modern methods and has time on his side.

Beyond Neil, Scottish managers south of the border increasingly find themselves relegated to the margins. When Steven Pressley was relieved from his position at Carlisle United yesterday – would he have something to offer a club like Hearts? – that left a grand total of ten Scots in situ at clubs in the top four English divisions, most of whom have been ensconced in the English system for years.

Finding their identities is a decent trivia question if you have some time to kill: Neil (Preston), Micky Mellon (Tranmere), Graham Alexander (Salford), Paul Lambert (Ipswich), Colin Calderwood (Cambridge), Darren Ferguson (Peterborough), John Dempster (Mansfield Town), Steve Evans (Gillingham), Russell Martin (MK Dons), Derek Adams (Morecambe).

As for the Scottish domestic scene, things are even more grim. Not only are the two Glasgow hot-seats occupied by a high profile Englishman and Northern Irishman, the status quo prior to the sackings in Edinburgh saw just a third of the managerial spots in our own league occupied by Scots – Derek McInnes at Aberdeen, Craig Levein at Hearts, Brian Rice at Hamilton and Stuart Kettlewell/Steven Ferguson at Ross County.

It is too early to say yet what will happen to those stats once the plates stop spinning in the capital but it is little wonder that a premium is being placed on the few aspiring young native coaches we have with experience at the top level such as John Kennedy and Shaun Maloney.

I can only commend the volunteer coaches who stump up the cash to put themselves through SFA’s coaching badges each year but an increasing lack of success stories at the very top end of the game must be troubling for the hierarchy at Mount Florida as they endeavour to ensure that their methods are continually in line with best practice elsewhere. Even Jose Mourinho, the association’s favourite poster boy, doesn’t get an invite to the Uefa elite coaches forum anymore.

Scottish football has a charm, the top two sides are improving, and some excellent players play up here but it is questionable to what extent we are developing people for the top level. I leave you with the sobering words of Brighton assistant manager Reid, who found a break at Ostersunds in Sweden broadened his horizons after the win-at-all-costs mentality prevalent in this country. “In general I think we are so far behind in Scotland it is incredible,” Reid told me in 2017. “In Scottish football, you win 1-0 and you are good. You lose 1-0 and you are not. I don’t really know where our game is going.”