Russell LatapyRUSSELL LATAPY was one of the many foreigners who invaded the Scottish game when our clubs had a bit of cash to splash.

The tricky Trinidad and Tobago star provided plenty of value for money as he turned on the style for Hibs, Rangers and Falkirk.

But with most teams now facing financial difficulties the days of bringing in stars such as a Latapy appear to be over.

The upside of that economic downturn is foreign duds are no longer milking our game dry and Latapy is pleased to see young Scottish players getting their chance to progress.

The 44-year-old said: “The reality for football is the global economic crisis must touch the game as well.

“The money that was there for clubs 15 years ago isn’t there for most of them any more.

“Smaller ones like Falkirk don’t have the financial power to go out and buy players. Not that they ever could make massive signings but even wages for Bosmans are a problem now.

“The positive side is kids now have an opportunity they weren’t afforded before. I saw Steven Pressley saying the average age of his Falkirk team last weekend was 19.

“Clubs used to have a lot of talent coming through their academies but they wouldn’t be given a chance in the first team and would need to go somewhere else.

“Now those kids will be picked and hopefully that will raise the level of the national team.

“When I was at Falkirk under John Hughes that process had started with Darren Barr and Scott Arfield. So I’m glad it has continued.”

Rangers are also having to blood youngsters in the Third Division in the wake of their financial crisis.

And Latapy is pleased to see the likes of Barrie McKay and Lewis Macleod seize their chance.

He said: “I’ve been away from Rangers for the best part of 10 years. Ten years! It feels like only two or three years since I left Ibrox. Time flies.

“As someone who played for the club and who is also a fan of Scottish football, it’s strange to see Rangers in the Third Division.

“They are a big club with a tradition and the SPL misses them. I knew they were in real difficulties and just hoped they wouldn’t disappear.

“I had my fingers crossed because you don’t want to see a club that is 140 years old go out of business.

“They now get 49,000 for Third Division games and only Rangers could do this. But the lesson is no club is too big to die – that’s the reality.

“However, there were always going to be too many supporters who were passionate about Rangers to allow them to go under without a fight.”

Latapy has been in Scotland for the past week doing his Pro Licence badge and hopes it will lead to him getting back into management.

He said: “I lived and played in Scotland for a long time and did all my other coaching badges in this country. So I was happy to be invited back to do my UEFA Pro licence.

“This is the pinnacle of coaching qualifications so hopefully I can learn a lot of stuff and that will help my career.

“I’m not working for anyone at the moment. I was coach of the Trinidad & Tobago national team but I left them 18 months ago.

“Since then I’ve been looking for another job in football but while I’m waiting I’ve been trying to stay up to date with developments and increase my knowledge of the game.

“I’m currently living in Portugal but I would definitely come back to Scotland if I was offered a position. I love the country and had a great end to my career here.”