SCOTTISH FA President Rod Petrie has revealed that weeding out bigotry and offensive behaviour has become one of the highest priorities of his presidency – and called for everyone to work together to build on the momentum provided by Uefa’s recent action against Rangers.

While many onlookers have contrasted the effective action taken by European football’s governing body – the Ibrox side have declined to take tickets for their next away match after being hit with partial stadium closures in the wake of being found guilty of racist behaviour during matches against St Joseph’s and Legia Warsaw this season – with what is perceived as a sense of drift on the issue by the domestic authorities, Petrie insists that he and everyone else at the SFA welcomes the intervention of Uefa, rather than be embarrassed by it.

“Why would we be embarrassed?” said Petrie. “Uefa, as the competition organiser, have dealt with the bad behaviour and unacceptable conduct, within the competition that they run.

“Equally we look to the SPFL to take a similar approach and where there is unacceptable behaviour and things which are patently wrong and unacceptable to the vast majority of people, we expect the SPFL to be working to eradicate that and we are very happy to do our part in working along with them,” he added. “This has to be a collaborative approach.

“I want to make a change in Scottish football – it is why I have continued to be involved with the Scottish FA and why I wanted to be president," he added. "I want to see things get better, I want to see things change. It happens to be the thing that is almost the highest priority on my watch so I am not going to run away from it. As an organisation, as a board of directors, we are going to try to work together and make things better for our children and our children’s children.”

Petrie – who can stay in post for a maximum of two terms of two years – said last night that he would be delighted if his legacy was making a ‘tangible’ difference when it comes to Scotland’s sectarian issue. While the association's member clubs rejected moving to a strict liability system such as the one in continental football by a landslide in 2013, and would almost certainly do so again, Petrie feels headway is being made every month on the subject at boardroom level.

“Whatever my term is, I want to look back on it and think that things are better,” said the former Hibs chairman, who stepped aside from that role this summer just as he ascended to the SFA presidency. “It is about trying to be better in every aspect of what we do.

“We do things great in some areas, and not so great in others,” he added. “Even in the great ones, we can do better, we can collaborate better with others, and improve things.

“It [sectarianism] has to change, of course it does. We can see movement on that and our role is to galvanise that intent, that movement and build on the momentum to make sure that everything does get better and we don’t just settle back into what was acceptable a number of years ago. We need to make sure we are moving forward for the betterment of the game.”

“The Scottish FA is very keen to play its part in a kind of wider debate and discussions with the SPFL, in terms of the league competitions, the Scottish Cup. But there are other agencies, government and football safety officers who have got a contribution to make to this debate and discussion and help us learn from what’s happened. Not just from the last few weeks but also the response, including things that happened at the end of last season.

"I think there are a number of clubs who have taken steps themselves to improve their ability to deal and identify things that don’t go well at the grounds.

“I think the events that took place, and obviously the punishment’s that’s been imposed by the organisation running the competition, has had an impact. And hopefully that is now helping to ensure a sea-change within attitudes of people coming to games and that in turn makes it the environment the best it can be for all the good supporters who want to come along to games and bring their kids. An environment in which they can cheer on their team and hopefully see success.

“It’s an opportunity for all of Scottish football to come together, to work together cohesively, share best practice and see what can be done to learn the lessons of the past. And more importantly to make progress going forward.”

Petrie’s fellow office bearer Mike Mulraney of Alloa, now SFA vice president, feels now is the time for the notion of the “90-minute bigot” to be consigned to the history books. “I don’t recognise such a thing as a ’90 minute bigot’,” said Mulraney. “I only recognise someone who is bigoted, who exports that feeling for 90 minutes.

“I think it’s an awareness I’d like people to consider – that when they do say things that in any other environment they wouldn’t, they need to stop and think. Ask themselves ‘Would they do that in front of their kids in Boots, or anywhere on the High Street in their normal time?’ And if they wouldn’t, then they should also ask themselves if that’s how they’d want others to see them? So, yes, I do not think there’s such a thing as a 90 minute bigot. It’s only a bigot exporting their message and they shouldn’t be allowed to do it.”