Later this month, a year will have passed since the Scottish FA made one of their better decisions in recent years when they dished out a contract extension to Steve Clarke.

With the benefit of hindsight it seems like an entirely obvious thing to do, but support for the men's national team boss wasn't quite as universal as it is now. Progress had been made, there was no doubt about that, but the team had still underachieved in both failing to get out of the Euro 2020 group, despite two matches being at home, and losing to Ukraine in the play-off for the most recent World Cup.

Some questioned the wisdom of giving the manager a deal beyond the end of the current campaign, seeing as failure to qualify would likely lead to huge sections of the Scotland support to call for his head. That didn't happen as we made a rip-roaring start to qualification and assured safe passage to Germany with two games remaining. It was a cracking bit of foresight by our governing body and means Clarke has a deal through to the end of the next World Cup campaign.

Perhaps Hampden Park decision-makers were feeling a little too pleased with themselves off the back of this, because six months later they made almost exactly the same move again, this time doling out an extension to Pedro Martinez Losa, head coach of the women's team. But that's where the similarities end.

Scotland's penalty shoot-out defeat to Finland in the final of the Pinatar Cup last Tuesday was the latest in a string of underachievements by the national team under the Spaniard's watch. He has never, at any point, looked a convincing bet to take the country forward since his appointment in the summer of 2021.

In his third game a late Rachel Corsie winner was needed to beat Hungary (shades of Stephen McManus and Liechtenstein) then alarm bells started ringing when Spain thumped eight past them without reply a short time later. After a dismal Pinatar Cup the following year, a recovery of sorts was made with a much more respectable showing in a 2-0 defeat to Spain at Hampden, and a 4-0 win over Ukraine in Poland which secured a route to the World Cup through the play-offs.

Things started off promisingly with a semi-final victory over Austria, but Scotland were woeful in the final against Ireland at Hampden Park, going out with a whimper after a 1-0 defeat.

Then came a four-game period which, along with the Clarke gamble working out tremendously, must've convinced the SFA into making the baffling decision of extending Martinez Losa's contract to 2027. Scotland won four friendly encounters on the bounce, including against World Cup hosts and tournament contenders Australia, which presented the possibility of a corner being turned. But these are friendly encounters, not competitive games. Ideally, yes, you'd rather win a friendly match than lose it, but you can never tell how seriously the opposition are taking it. Australia, for example, decided they'd rather lose the match 1-0 than throw on star striker Sam Kerr, who watched the entire game from the bench.

The big difference between the two contract decisions was that with Clarke there was tangible evidence to support the decision: the play-off winin Serbia, the draw with England, victories over Austria and Denmark etc etc. That wasn't the case whatsoever with Martinez Losa.

Since the extension things have gone from mediocre to bad to worse. There's only been one victory in their last eight games, against the Philippines, while further embarrassment has been felt with a 6-0 defeat to England at Hampden.

It was a telling scoreline. The last time Scotland suffered such a thumping against their near-neighbours was at the European Championships back in 2017, the first major tournament Scotland had qualified for. They followed it up by reaching the next finals with a place at the World Cup in France two years later (where they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by England). At that point, the hype around women's football had never been higher in Scotland, but the SFA have since squandered it, mainly through bad decisions regarding the manager's position.

Shelley Kerr, who led the team to France, should not have stayed on after a bust-up with her players in the wake of the 3-3 draw with Argentina which saw Scotland eliminated; a tempestuous meeting which she herself admitted took place after the consumption of alcohol by the coaching staff. The hangover remained for the following Euro campaign, which ultimately saw Scotland eliminated following three straight 1-0 defeats to Finland and Portugal.

A change was needed but Martinez Losa has never looked like the right fit. Scotland have consistently looked like they're playing within themselves. The tactic is to pass the ball, but his team often look like they're doing so simply for the sake of it. There is consistently a lack of tempo, a lack of urgency, and they have a dreadful habit of giving away soft goals.

His squads often appear imbalanced, his post-match interviews rarely reflect what the viewer has just witnessed on the park, and he's often talked about bringing through younger players but seems hesitant to give many a proper chance.

There was a moment midway through the first half of the Finland game which should be the final straw. As Martinez Losa and his coaching staff furiously instructed Chelsea Cornet to sit deeper in the midfield, they were rebuffed by a frustrated Erin Cuthbert who barked back to the bench "that's not the gameplan!". There was always a suggestion the players were on his side, but if they aren't getting clear instructions then that hardly seems probable any more.

Then there's his decision not to live in Scotland, even temporarily. Instead choosing to fly back and forth from London. Such allowances can be tolerated if the team is winning, but when things aren't right on the park you can't help but question the level of commitment. And, to top it all off, Scotland are now down to 25th in the world rankings, their lowest position since August 2010.

You don't want to keep making comparisons, but if this were the men's team there would be national outrage. Martinez Losa, and those in charge of his initial hiring and maintaining his current position, are fortunate that there isn't yet the same kind of interest in the women's game, while the culture of dissension from supporters isn't there at this moment in time either. 

It's a dereliction of duty from the SFA. Scotland have so many incredibly talented players and a growing determination from passionate followers to make women's football a daily relevance in this country. Success is required to make that translate to more bums on seats. But they're being let down by a head coach who in almost three years has yet to show he's the right man for the job, and a governing body who seemingly couldn't care less as long as he doesn't rock the boat. It's time for a change.