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First name

Gordon Strachan would be a good fit for Scotland

Few other standout contenders

icon strachanscot9 November ~ A short ginger bloke who could destroy defenders with his mazy dribbling and humiliates journalists with cutting one-liners, Gordon Strachan embodies Scottish football's more positive stereotypes. However, the current favourite to take over from Craig Levein as Scotland manager must confound another national trait: Scotland will beat their record of 16 years between major finals when they don't reach Brazil 2014. Levein won just three competitive games in three years as Scotland manager; single-goal victories home and away to Liechtenstein and at Hampden over Lithuania kept our latest FIFA ranking as high as 70.

The world's most cloyingly positive support booed the team off after September's home draws with Serbia and Macedonia. Neither game was sold out but both featured stopper Gary Caldwell in midfield.

Add concerns about seeding for future qualifying campaigns and Levein's new habit of picking players he'd previously declared unfit for purpose and the SFA had to act quickly. Two months, two humiliating defeats in Cardiff and Brussels and several committee meetings and conference calls later, chief executive Stewart Regan made a media announcement last Monday.

Perhaps because there were no teams beginning with "L" in the Group, Levein had already told the SFA he'd be leaving at the end of the current campaign. Despite this and being paid the full £700,000 remainder of his contract, he's thinking about suing for wrongful dismissal. This tells us all we need to know both about Levein's bumptiousness and efficacy of the SFA's seven-man board.

Under-21s coach Billy Stark will take charge of the squad for next week's friendly in Luxembourg. He made his own pitch for the post but will surely be no more than the punch bag for any dressing room dissatisfaction. Levein, who won even less as a player than as a coach, was genuinely liked by the squad. This has led to a groundswell of media opinion in favour of a replacement the players will "respect".

Kenny Dalglish probably doesn't need the hassle and Graeme Souness is barely hanging on as a pundit these days so their mentions in dispatches seem as scurrilous as that of Harry Redknapp. Former Ireland international Owen Coyle is suddenly "Glaswegian" again but Joe Jordan is merely a nostalgic nod to World Cups past. Motherwell boss Stuart McCall has claimed he doesn't deserve the job yet and Billy Davies just gets mentioned whenever there's a vacancy.

The scrutiny faced by a Scotland manager is as intense if not as global as that experienced by his English counterpart. The gratitude often as meagre. Walter Smith and Alex McLeish used the job to bounce back into club management, ensuring their sterling efforts to get us to Euro 2008 were forgotten in an air of treachery. The only two men to take Scotland to both a European Championship and a World Cup, Craig Brown and Andy Roxburgh, are still derided as amateurish "bibs and cones" types.

So while Strachan improves the media as a pundit, his downright aggressive managerial dealings with reporters will come in handy as much as his solid English club experience and outstanding achievements with Celtic. He's no stylist but would arrive at a time when the aesthetics couldn't get any worse. Stewart Regan will hope Southampton don't want him more. Alex Anderson

Comment on 09-11-2012 19:23:20 by Vulgarian Visigoth #730917
'Owen Coyle is suddenly "Glaswegian" again'

Did he ever stop being Glaswegian? It reads like the typical snide remark from a supporter of certain defunct team from the West of Scotland.
Comment on 09-11-2012 20:22:05 by Borracho #730942
Coyle's Ireland career lasted for a grand total of seven minutes, in a friendly against the Netherlands in Tilburg just before USA 94.
Comment on 09-11-2012 20:32:14 by Alex Anderson #730943
do you find that quite a lot of comments seem like snidey remarks to you, Vendovos?

Owen Coyle was a tremendous striker and he's a half-decent manager. It's the tabloids I'm having a go at.

Comment on 10-11-2012 10:26:27 by nu_sunt_flamaropol #731076
Owen Coyle is surely more Glaswegian than many of the "Scottish" players that are playing for Scotland.
Comment on 10-11-2012 10:36:12 by jameswba #731081
It's probably not worth responding to those who post comments on a 600 word article just to offer their (mis)interpretation of two words of it but, well....

Coyle is also, clearly, a thoroughly decent, likeable human-being, and I think he has been and will be a fine coach. But I think the piece on here about his time at Bolton had it right when it said there were frailties in the side he'd never addressed. I wouldn't have thought he and Scotland would be right for each quite yet.

Don't know if it's being too anglo-centric or having the memory of a fish, but I find myself recalling Strachan's time at Boro as opposed to at Celtic. I know it didn't work out at Boro, but two things he did and said there resonated positively. One was about how the youngsters who'd figured a lot under Southgate were in a detached-from-reality comfort-zone they needed to get out of. The other was that he wouldn't take a pay-off when the club parted company with him. Nice contrast there with the point Alex makes about Levein.

And Strachan's playing days, and the better parts of his management career, have been all about maximising what you've got. If he could get that going with Scotland, well, as has been said before, this team has more potential than some of the last 10-15 years.

I reckon Alex is making a good call.
Comment on 13-11-2012 21:26:51 by Alex Anderson #732020
Cheers for that, JamesWBA - yeah, fair shout on Strachan's time at Boro, in both respects. As others have testified, there's no doubt I'm being too Old Firm-centric but,as much as the fact he twice got Celtic through the group stages of the Champions League (which I'm kinda seeing as the, equivelant of getting Scotland to the play-offs for a major finals), I'm fancying Strachan for the job because he got off to a howler of a start with Celtic (I'll snidely mention the 5-0 drubbing at a ground near you)and overcame that spectacularly - three league titles on the trot and only losing a fourth in the final game of the season - while never really liked by the majority of the Parkhead faithful.

This was partly to do with that poor start, the "unattractive" playing style of his Celtic team (utter bilge - you can't win the league and be unattractive) and his playing days as part of the Aberdeen team which broke the Old Firm duopoly (Alex Mcleish suffered the same ingratitude at Rangers despite performing similair heroics there). But, whatever the reason, it didn't phase him. He never pandered to the Parkhead faithful in the way Martin O'Neill did yet he actually achieved more than Martin and probably with less money.

After Levein, I'm desperate to see someone in the Scotland job who can handle both the histrionics of our press and the strange ways of the Tartan Army. I don't particulalry like Strachan's media style but it's genuine and I think it will work. He's also at the perfect age. Walter Smith never really set the heather on fire at Everton and Alex McLeish had as many downs as ups in England yet both did well when in charge of their national team - for some reason I'm assuming Strachan's bad times in English club management can be written off in exactly the same way. And I'm pretty sure that reason is total desperation.
Comment on 14-11-2012 18:30:54 by Alex Anderson #732296
And, right on cue, the little ginger sh*t says he doesn't want it. See - that's the thanks you get for being nice about an ex-Celtic employee! Last time I make that mistake ... unless Martin O'Neill, Jo Venglos or Henrik bl**dy Larsson fancy it. In fact, could Lennon not do it? I mean, if he's got time to chat to Elton John ...

Come on Regan - finger out - get Mourinho on the phone ...
Comment on 15-01-2013 12:53:11 by Alex Anderson #751171
... waited long enough for Real to get their finger out re Mourinho - Strachan it is.

I always liked him.
Comment on 15-01-2013 13:00:39 by OnceGaza #751177
Some strange posts in this thread.

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