I’ve never been able to understand or deal with racism as I’ve had nothing other that admiration for people regardless of their skin colour. As a boy, I was a huge fan of Pele and Eusebio and through the years I have admired and played alongside many black players and never considered for a moment that their colour was of any consideration in terms of my respect.

In 2008, while I was Chief Executive of the SFA, I read a newspaper article about a young black boy, Nathan Austin who was suffering terrible discrimination and racial taunts while playing youth football. He had decided to give up playing because of this as he couldn’t suffer this abuse any more. I decided to step into the matter and got his contact details whereupon, I called his mother and invited Nathan and his club coach, Willie Wilkie, to a Scotland match. I wanted to give him a special night but the main thing I hoped to do was convince Nathan that he should continue playing football. What I tried to express to him was that these people are making an attempt to hurt him and if he complies with their wishes by giving up the game, then they are the winners.

He was only 14 years old but I tried to make him strong and prove that these people who tried to ruin his life are idiots. The main thing I tried to get through to him regarding racism is that people don’t demean you with their slurs and behaviour, they demean themselves. These horrible people can’t be seen to be an influence as that’s what they are attempting to be. I didn’t know what the result of my time with Nathan would be, but I was so pleased to the find out that he had decided to continue playing his beloved sport and that he’s since gone on to have a professional career.

This has been a very sad week for football with the incident that took place at Ibrox last Thursday night at the Europa League game with Slavia Prague. Rangers lost of course, but the aftermath should have been about how well they have performed in Europe this season and how they were finally beaten by an excellent and underrated football team. Unfortunately, we are having to deal with the sad racist incident that occurred on the night and what the aftermath might be regarding the enquiry that must take place.

There is good evidence that Kudela did make a racist comment to Kamala and this should be looked at by UEFA and action taken against the player if it’s proved to have occurred. The second factor is the complaint that Slavia have made regarding their player being assaulted in the tunnel after the match. This is also a serious allegation but my understanding is that this did not happen and there’s video evidence available to substantiate this. If Slavia have indeed reported this to UEFA but it is subsequently proved to have been a false allegation, then I think that they should be removed from the tournament. By claiming this, they are obviously trying to portray themselves as victims on the night when clearly most people are outraged by the behaviour of their player.

It’s incredible to consider what Kudela did when you consider that he’s got a number of black teammates and one of them, Olayinka scored the crucial opening goal to virtually clinch the tie for Slavia. Is there no camaraderie or team spirit in the Slavia dressing room that would prohibit a player from having any racist views or behaviour. I find it astonishing but equally so, we are aware of fans also shouting racist slurs at opposition players when they themselves have black stars in their own team. This is something that greatly annoys me but also worries me as I wonder if we can really ever deal with this sad mindset and behaviour. This is why I made an attempt to help young Nathan and why I feel the football authorities need to act now to take the measures that will clean up our game.

I can understand why some Scottish fans regarded the draw on Thursday night as a disappointing start to our World Cup campaign but we have to put it in perspective. Austria are a good side and their league has many strong teams. We wrongly tend to underestimate some of the countries in European football because they’re not considered on the same basis as the major nations. It was a good performance from the Scottish team and coming from behind twice to equalise shows the good strength of character currently being exhibited by the players. It’s going to be a tough section with the two main teams to overcome being Austria and Denmark. Nevertheless, I can see a development in both the system Steve Clarke has adopted and the confidence that the players are bringing to the table. I think it will be an exciting campaign and we shouldn’t be too discouraged by starting with a home draw.