Replacing Alex McLeish as Scotland boss with Steve Clarke were some of the last big decisions of Alan McRae’s time as SFA president.
And he hopes the change of manager has set the national team on course for next year’s European Championships.
McRae will step down as president of the SFA later this month after four years in the position.
During his time at the helm the Dark Blues have been close to reaching a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup in France, but haven’t quite made it.
After winning UEFA Nations League Group C1 Gothenburg Great McLeish was removed in April after a poor start to Euro qualifying with the Scots beaten 3-0 by Kazakhstan in Nursultan and edging past San Marino 2-0 in Serravalle.
McRae, a close friend of McLeish, admits it was a tough decision to change manager.
He said: “It is always difficult when you decide to get rid of any manager or coach.
“It was a board decision and I supported it – despite the relationship I had with Alex.
“I supported it for various reasons I don’t want to go into.
“It was felt a change was needed and the board felt that, and at the end of the day you stand or fall on your decisions and that is the decision the board made.
“One thing I would like to do is thank Alex for securing us a Nations League play-off place.
“Not only that, he also moved us from League C up into League B which is the top 24-30 teams.
“So we’re up in that group and if we can continue that progress in the next Nations League we can go higher, which would be great.
“Alex was part of that and he has to get credit for that.
“When Alex took the job the task initially was to secure a play-off spot in the Nations League. He delivered on that and deserves credit for that.
“When Alex came in we got a lot of stick for the friendlies last summer against Peru and Mexico.
“But Alex came in, got on with it and made the best of it and ultimately we made the play-offs with Alex in charge.
“If we do reach the Euros then Alex has played a huge part in it.
“These things come into your thinking when you have to make tough decisions. We had to make a tough decision and we’ll stand or fall by that decision.”
New Scots gaffer Clarke was named manager of the year for the past two seasons.
He takes charge of the Dark Blues for the first time tomorrow against Cyprus at Hampden before tackling Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday. McRae hopes Clarke can galvanise a nation and end the long wait to reach a major tournament.
He added: “Steve was manager of the year twice and did a great job at Kilmarnock, so he was the outstanding candidate.
“He’s got a lot of really good experience as a No1 and a No2.
“He’s been at a number of big clubs in England as manager and with top managers as their assistant.
“He’s a really positive football person and I’m sure we will get to the European Championships under his leadership.
“I haven’t really heard anyone complaining about Steve Clarke’s appointment.
“So I hope after this the fans, the media and everyone can get behind the team, the manager and his backroom staff. It’s important we do that because they are confident they can take us to the Euros through the qualifiers.
“But it’s also important that whatever happens in the qualifiers we want to find our best 11 and get them on the park.
“If we can do that it will build confidence over the qualifiers.
“If we have to go into the play-offs it would be good to do it having had a good qualifying group and just missed out. The group is difficult because Belgium are the top-ranked national team in the world and finished third at the World Cup.
“Russia got to the last eight of the World Cup last year.
“A lot has happened over the last four years when I’ve been president.
“But ultimately we’re judged on the success of the men’s team.”