McLeish open to talks over Scot­land job

McLeish ready to talk af­ter Stra­chan goes

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - By Sean Wal­lace

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.

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