Alan McRae has gone on a journey from amateur football to the top of the SFA and says the whole experience has been a privilege.
Later this month McRae will step down after four years as SFA president.
He has been involved with the association for the last 28 years.
McRae’s journey as a football administrator began in the early 1980s with Cove Rangers, who were at that time an amateur side.
He led them into the Junior ranks and then the Highland League, serving as league president from 1994 to 1997.
Over his time with the SFA he’s held a number of different roles including chairing the non-professional board, the referees committee, the disciplinary committee, the rules revision committee and the pyramid working group as well as working within UEFA, Fifa and the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
Reflecting on it, McRae said: “It’s been an honour and a privilege. You get criticism that you have to accept and take on board, which I have.
“Sometimes you can be ridiculed which can be difficult to take, but you need to defend your own position.
“It doesn’t bother me because that’s just what happens.
“But it’s been great and I’m proud of my achievements and the many things I’ve been involved in.
“I’ve had fantastic colleagues at Park Gardens and then Hampden.
“I’ve come from the grassroots to become SFA president.
“I was involved with Cove Rangers in the amateurs, the Juniors, the Highland League and the club are now in the SPFL.
“It’s been some journey and when I started on the journey the first thing was becoming president of the Highland League.
“Then you wanted to represent Aberdeenshire and the Highland League at the SFA.
“It’s 28 consecutive years I’ve been at the SFA in some shape or form. It’s been a long journey and I’ve seen many changes.
“I think the association is a better place – we’ve got the professional game board, the non-professional game board, the compliance officer, disciplinary, referees, club licensing.
“We’ve got more groups and better groups and more experienced people from our top clubs involved in our work.
“We’ve got a good relationship with the clubs and the SPFL which is important.”
Held in high regard by his contemporaries at the SFA and SPFL, a presentation was made to McRae at last month’s Scottish Cup final.
He added: “I was quite honoured after the Scottish Cup final when Neil Doncaster (SPFL chief executive) presented me with a silver plate from the SPFL thanking me for working closely with them.
“Both the associations have a good working relationship and between us we have a good working relationship with UEFA for our clubs, which is important.
“The SPFL acknowledged that with the presentation and I was very proud to receive that.”