McLeish open to talks over Scotland job
McLeish ready to talk after Strachan goes
ALEX McLeish today refused to rule out a return to the Scotland managerial hotseat after Gordon Strachan’s departure. The Dons legend, who left the job for Birmingham City in 2007, said: “If you get the phone call to manage your country it is a hard one to turn down.”
GOTHENBURG Great Alex McLeish today confirmed he would talk to the SFA about the vacant Scotland job if they were to contact him.
The SFA are in the hunt for a new manager after Gordon Strachan stepped down by “mutual consent” following the failure to reach the World Cup 2018 play-offs.
McLeish is one of the early names in the frame to take on the role of Scotland boss to lead the bid for the Euro 2020 finals.
The 58-year-old previously managed Scotland during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
He quit to join Premier League Birmingham City in November 2007 having narrowly missed out on Euro qualification-full from a group that included World Cup champions Italy and France, the side the Azzurri beat in the World Cup final.
Other names linked to the job are former Manchester United boss Davie Moyes, SFA performance director Malky Mackay, Paul Lambert, Northern Ireland gaffer Michael O’Neill and Dons boss Derek McInnes.
McLeish said: “If you get the phone call to manage your country it is a hard one to
turn down. If the call came there would be a few willing candidates out there – and I would more than likely be one of them.” Aberdeen legend McLeish has the most impressive managerial CV of the names linked to the job so far although other potential candidates will likely emerge. Capped 77 times, he won two league titles, two Scottish cups and three League Cups as boss of Rangers and led Birmingham City to the League Cup in 2011. He believes whoever takes over from Strachan will inherit a squad on the up. He said: “It was a good ending to the campaign which is why I thought Gordon might stay on. “I thought that might have been down to Gordon but the decision seems to be mutual. “The campaign finished strongly so the new man coming in would have something pretty good to work with.” McLeish believes fielding young players
is pivotal to a successful bid for Euro 2020. He said: “There are some good young players on the horizon that can be blooded for the next championships. “Players like John McGinn and Callum McGregor and it will be time to test these boys at that level.” Scotland were 1-0 up at half-time in the mustwin Group F qualifier against Slovenia. However, they conceded twice in the second-half before a late goal secured a 2-2 draw.
McLeish believes a granite solid centraldefensive partnership similar to the one he forged with Willie Miller for Aberdeen and Scotland is imperative. He said: “Northern Ireland have reached the play-offs.
“The base of that team is their defence which is absolutely fantastic. “There are strong, experienced centrebacks in Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley who are absolute rocks at the base of the team. “We had good displays from our centre-backs over the piece but lost vital goals I don’t think the Northern Irish boys would have lost. “We have to improve in that department. “A partnership like myself and Willie Miller would help. “Whether that means working with current players, if there are no up and coming centrehalves, it is possible to improve players.” McLeish was Scotland boss when Scotland shocked France 1-0 in Paris in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Scotland then lost 2-1 to world champions Italy to a controversial late goal. He said: “It wasn’t to be.
“It’s in the past and it is now time for somebody to make an assault and get Scotland to a final.”
post: Alex McLeish is in the frame to replace former team-mate Gordon Strachan, below.
time’s up: Strachan, right, and McGhee.
IMPRESSIVE: Former Don Alex McLeish.