SKIP­PER’S VER­DICT ON STRA­CHAN AXE

Scot­land skip­per blasts SFA for bin­ning Stra­chan

Daily Record - - FRONT PAGE - KEITH JACK­SON

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

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