By Stewart Fisher and Graeme McGarry

THE SFA hope to be in a position to appoint a new Scotland manager in the next seven to ten days. Three weeks since the decision was taken to move on from Alex McLeish and a month until the new man is scheduled to lead his team into battle for the first time against Cyprus at Hampden Park on June 8, chief executive Ian Maxwell is believed to have completed his due diligence on prospective candidates and is ready to move on to the next stage of the appointment process.

With the association keen to learn the lessons of their messy public pursuit of Michael O’Neill, which saw the Northern Irishman rebuff an approach, then Walter Smith do likewise before they turned back to Alex McLeish, details have been few and far between. But the clock is ticking as the association move on to the interview stage.

While the names of Slaven Bilic, Sven Goran Eriksson, Dick Advocaat and former USA coach Burce Arena have all been connected with the post, the most obvious candidates out there are Scottish. Steve Clarke, the PFA Scotland manager of the year in each of the last two seasons, said last week that “one phone call, one conversation, could change everything”, although the Kilmarnock manager may not be short of offers and will be not free of club duties until next Sunday at the earliest. The 55-year-old has also been connected to the vacancy at Fulham, although sources in England suggested Scott Parker would land that job on a permanent basis.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is another man in the frame, on the strength of six years of sterling service to Aberdeen. He and assistant Tony Docherty are under contract until next summer, although McInnes said this week he could be prepared to enter discussions about an extension.

While Sunderland’s Jack Ross tied up in the Championship play-offs for at least another week, David Moyes is available and has been seen taking in Ladbrokes Premiership matches recently. “Club football would be my choice,” the former Everton, Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham manager said recently, “but Scotland’s my country and I’m really passionate. I’ve followed Scotland to all the tournaments when I was a young man, I used to go to Wembley regularly with my dad, so I’ve got some great memories of being a Scotland supporter.”

The idea of appointing an interim coach hasn’t been dismissed either – with Under-21 coach Scot Gemmill and performance director Malky Mackay names under consideration by the board.