- Birthplace: Bellshill
- Previous Clubs: Watford
- Honours: Championship: 2012-13
Cut from the same Glasgow cloth as Kenny Dalglish, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, Malky Mackay is looking to follow his compatriots to the very top of football management. Four years into his career and Mackay has already made huge strides, impressing in his first job at Watford before taking the next step with Cardiff City, whom he guided into the Premier League as Championship winners in 2012-13.
Like current Manchester United boss Moyes, Mackay fell just short of the first-team grade at Celtic as a player, moving south of the border for more playing time at Norwich, where he was a reliable presence in defence for six years. In his final season, Mackay was named in the First Division Team of The Year as the Canaries were promoted, though he passed up the opportunity to play in the Premier League in favour of helping West Ham regain their top-flight status. Once more, he missed the chance to feature in the top flight after moving to Watford but finally got his opportunity at the age of 34 in the 2006-07 campaign.
While at Watford, Mackay began studying for his coaching badges and was used by manager Aidy Bothroyd in a coaching capacity until he officially hung up his boots in 2008. Just a few months later Mackay was handed the caretaker reins at Vicarage Road following Bothroyd's departure, and 12 months on he was appointed on a permanent basis in the wake of Brendan Rodgers' sacking.
Mackay's time as Watford boss saw him face financial challenges, with the pre-Pozzo days at the Hornets characterised by a thrifty approach to transfer spending. The Scot showed himself adept at bringing through young players and used the loan market astutely, notably seeing Manchester United's Tom Cleverley develop under his short-term tutelage before returning to shine for Sir Alex, who Mackay has often pointed to as an influence on his career.
"He's been easily accessible and I've been able to pick up the phone and ask a question now and again," Mackay said in 2013. "I don't think I'm that different from a lot of young Scottish managers that he has got a lot of time for. And that's one of the great things about him - he does have a lot of time for people; time for football people and in general for young Scottish managers who have been able to talk to him."
Having demonstrated his potential at Watford, Mackay was handed the task of ending Cardiff's half-century wait for Premier League football in 2011. His first campaign brought familiar heartache for the Bluebirds - both in the play-off semi-finals and a League Cup final defeat to Liverpool - but having transformed the squad he was left with on his arrival in South Wales, Mackay masterminded a Championship-winning campaign in his second season, receiving the LMA Championship Manager of the Year award for his efforts.
Reportedly targeted by Stoke and Everton in the off-season, Mackay stayed with Cardiff to lead the club into their first top-flight season since 1962.
Strengths: Has demonstrated plenty of nous in the transfer market, getting bargains and rarely paying over the odds for any player. Mackay also boasts impressive self-belief, with his players pointing to his professionalism and ability to motivate as his key qualities.
Weaknesses: Inexperienced at the top level, Mackay has yet to mix it with the big boys and an inaugural Premier League campaign represents his toughest managerial test yet.
Career high: Taking Cardiff back into the Premier League for the first time in 51 years, as winners of the 2012-13 Championship.
Career low: Defeat in the 2012 League Cup final to Liverpool.
Tactics: Mackay packs his teams with those who embody the work-rate and selfless attitude he displayed in his playing days, with Cardiff playing a pressing game that is reliant on a supremely fit squad. His is a pragmatic approach, exemplified by his previous claim that he wants his team to play in "whatever way causes the opposition the most problems".
Quotes: "Cardiff have one of the best young managers in the country. Every manager needs a bit of luck along the way, but I genuinely believe he could become the next Sir Alex Ferguson. That, of course, can only be judged when we look back in 20 years or more, but I am convinced he has that level of ability... His judgement so far, particularly on players, has been fantastic. Cardiff City director Paul Guy, July 2013.
Trivia: When Mackay played at Norwich he once locked team-mate Craig Bellamy, who now plays under him at Cardiff, in a coach toilet for four hours on an away trip.
Cardiff City Squad
|28||Kevin Theopile Catherine|
|34||Jo Inge Berget|