THE head of community development at the SFA believes the coronavirus pandemic could act as a defining moment in Scotland becoming a sporting nation.

Football has been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak and the estimated 750,000 involved in the sport across Scotland are now eager to get back kicking a ball as soon as possible.

Activities such as running, walking and cycling have seen a substantial rise in participation during these unprecedented times and SFA chief Paul McNeill hopes the virus will have the same positive effect on the beautiful game.

He said: “We have seen people go out and we’ve seen people embrace outdoor exercise like we have never seen before.

“We have seen mums and dads passionately say right I might know nothing about this sport but you love it, I’ll go out the back door, I’ll put a couple of cones down, what do you need me to do?

“I think there is an opportunity to grab more parents and say that coaching at a grassroots level particularly is fun.

“We capitalise on opportunities and I think that’s what we need to speak to the government about as well, we need to say to them lets make sure that we don’t lose this moment of time where people are wanting to participate.

“Maybe it is the one time in our life, maybe 2020 when we look back on it and you think gosh this horrible thing happened to us, but maybe it is the one time we become a sporting nation.

“I’m very passionate about that. I’m very lucky, I’m very privileged, I get to speak to so many people and go to other countries where they are very sporting nations.

“They cycle to their venues, they run to their venues, the whole of society is set-up to play sport and we love sport in this country but we might not be a sporting nation yet.”

He added: “I am so delighted to see so many more cycle tracks going, so maybe we can start cycling to venues to play football.

“So maybe there is a great opportunity here to look and say what can the power of football and the power of sport do for society.

“Maybe we will look back in ten years’ time and say that was the defining moment that we really put sport at the front and centre at what is important to us as a nation.”

Paul McNeill was talking to Rhona Mcleod Media' @rmcleodmedia

You can watch the full interview with Paul here: