James McFadden believes outstanding man-management skills have allowed Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish to become the latest Scot to succeed in the Premier League.

And the striker turned midfielder is urging Blues to use their achievements this season as a "springboard" for even greater success during the 2010-2011 campaign.

Despite defeat at Fulham on Sunday, Blues have already virtually guaranteed their top flight status for next season barring a complete collapse in fortunes between now and May.

They are also in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup where they will visit cash-strapped Portsmouth.

It seems hard to contemplate now but McLeish was under pressure last season when promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship was looking uncertain and again at the beginning of this campaign when the Carson Yeung era got underway.

But former Rangers and Scotland manager McLeish has showed his qualities during a recent 12-game unbeaten league run and he is now ready to sign a new contract.

McFadden said: "The worst question you can ask a player is how good a manager is but, to me, his (McLeish's) man-management is great.

"We've seen it especially during this great run of results. He's not let us get carried away. He's challenged us to keep it going, to keep winning.

"I've always played under Scottish managers. The only non-Scottish manager I've had is when I played for Scotland! I don't know why they seem to do so well!

"The best manager in the world at the minute is at Manchester United (Sir Alex Ferguson) and David Moyes at Everton is doing a great job for them, and is getting recognition for the job he's done there.

"Hopefully the manager here, if we can keep this run going, will get the recognition he deserves and, if we can keep the run going, hopefully we can use it as a springboard for next season."

McFadden added: "People say the gaffer was under pressure last season but still managed to take us to automatic promotion.

"We didn't play particularly well but, if you look back on it in years to come, you won't remember that, only that at the end of the day the job was done.

"Now we're playing in the best league in the world, and the manager is proving to everybody he is a good manager."

McFadden believes the secret of Birmingham's success is the trust shown in the players by the manager and also in themselves not to let standards slip.

He said: "The manager has trust in the players but the players trust each other as well, We've got a great spirit, and if somebody is maybe not at it, there's no shortage of players around them to tell them.

"The manager, I wouldn't say he's a disciplinarian, but he likes to keep a tight ship, making sure that players don't stray - and I think the players are similar themselves.

"That's where the trust comes from and, when the chips are down, they're the first to say to each other they're not performing to the levels they can do."

McFadden believes the competition for places ensures there will be no complacency heading into the final third of the season.

He was left out of Birmingham's league game at West Ham before being recalled for the FA Cup tie at Derby.

He said: "I don't think complacency is an issue. I think we want to win every game and we've got a belief we can win every game now.

"We know with a bad performance, you could be out of the team because players are waiting and ready to do well.

"It is good for the club as a whole that, first and foremost, we are getting results on the pitch and good the players that aren't playing regularly are coming in and showing they are capable of playing."