Sir Ian McGeechan defends Bath tenure

Sir Ian McGeechan believes Bath have progressed during his time in charge, despite having a "tough" season.

It was confirmed last week that the 65-year-old would be leaving his role as director of rugby at the end of the campaign after just a year in the job.

Bath have struggled both in Europe and in the Premiership this term, where they lie eighth in the table.

But McGeechan told BBC Points West: "Where we are now is a long way from where we were 18 months ago."

He continued: "We've had a tough season - we know that.

"We've not had the best of luck with injuries and we're all hugely disappointed as a lot of the things that are in place probably mean three or four games going the other way would see everything falling nicely into place.

"I think we've come a long way in setting the standards and the right culture which in the end comes from the players and the dressing room.

"What I wanted was a bigger perspective. The environment we are operating in, the standards we've set and how people operate off the field as a support staff is very important.

"It's about having that perspective that just because three or four results didn't go our way, don't think that everything else isn't right."

He added: "We're a few wins away from a significant change."

Former Lions coach McGeechan arrived at the Rec in 2010 as performance director but, following the departure of Steve Meehan, he was moved to a director of rugby role, with former Bath lock Martin Haag and ex-rugby league player Brad Davis forming his coaching team.

With McGeechan's experience, the backing of multimillionaire owner Bruce Craig and the arrival of World Cup stars Francois Louw and Stephen Donald, Bath were expected to be a dominant force this season.

But they failed to make an impact in Europe - they were dumped out of the Heineken Cup in the group stages - and have won just eight of their 19 league games to leave them off the pace in the chase for a Heineken Cup spot next year.

And McGeechan admits his side have lacked the influence of a head coach on the field: "We know we've operated a coach short this year.

"I was only here in a part-time role to look at the rugby structures and quite clearly they knew I didn't want to come as a head coach. With Steve leaving last year I said that I would support the coaches closely but didn't want to have that role.

"A recommendation from me was that we needed a head coach and that's why the process was started after Christmas. I've made recommendations over what the structure should look like and I've been right about them in the past.

"There's a direction which the club needs to take which will be shown in due course."

First-team coach Haag will follow McGeechan out of the club in the summer although Davis has survived the reshuffle of staff.

Newcastle Falcons interim coach Gary Gold, former Italy and South Africa coach Nick Mallet and ex-Bath back Mike Catt have all been linked with the vacant head coach position.