SKIPPER’S VERDICT ON STRACHAN AXE
Scotland skipper blasts SFA for binning Strachan
Scott Brown last night insisted Scotland’s players are in a state of shock over Gordon Strachan’s sacking.
And Brown warned the SFA they may just have sabotaged the nation’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2020.
Record Sport revealed on Wednesday the skipper was on the verge of committing himself to one last international campaign so long as Strachan remained at the helm – despite falling at the
final hurdle on the road to the World Cup in Russia.
But the Celtic stalwart’s Scotland future was left hanging in the balance yesterday when the decision was made not to hand Strachan another contract.
And just moments after it was announced the hunt is under way for a replacement boss, a disbelieving Brown questioned the logic behind the move to fire a manager who has not suffered a single defeat in 2017.
Brown said: “It’s fair to say all the players are absolutely shocked by this decision. I know I am.
“We were making great progress under Gordon and the players thoroughly enjoyed working with him.
“It wasn’t just myself who was looking forward to working under him again in the next campaign. We all were because we felt we were moving in the right direction – as the results in 2017 have shown.
“To a man, we all believed we had a great chance of qualifying for Euro 2020.
“That’s why it’s hard to believe they have chosen to change the manager at this point. Let’s hope they know what they are doing because they’ll have to find a truly exceptional candidate if he’s going to be as good a Scotland manager as Gordon Strachan.”
Brown declined to answer when asked if Strachan’s removal will now lead to the end of his own international career.
He stood down as Scotland captain in August last year but was talked out of retirement three months later to answer an SOS from Strachan ahead of a World Cup clash with England at Wembley. Brown went on to play a huge part in the Group F revival that ended in heartache without him in Slovenia on Sunday night.
After the announcement yesterday Strachan said: “I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention.
“The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player.
“Together we have shared some magical moments and those memories will live with me forever. Of course, what made those moments special was the unwavering support of our fans.”
The SFA thanked Strachan and his No.2 Mark McGhee for their efforts, citing the outgoing gaffer’s “passion, professionalism and commitment”.
SFA chief Stewart Regan added: “I know how disappointed he was we couldn’t secure a play-off place but to come so close was a tribute to the belief he instilled in his squad.”
I’M RIGHT BEHIND GORD Brown, left, with Strachan and, inset, our story on Wednesday