Whistle blown on Strachan’s reign.
Gordon Strachan’s reign as Scotland manager is over, with the SFA starting their hunt for the man they hope will give the national side the “fresh impetus” it needs to end the long exile from championship finals,
writes Eric Nicolson.
Strachan and his now former employers came to “joint agreement” that the recently-finished World Cup qualifying campaign would be his last.
The board meeting was understood to have lasted for around half-anhour, with the decision to cut ties with Strachan pretty much unanimous.
A “sad sad sad day” was the reaction of captain Scott Brown.
His second international retirement is expected after Strachan’s departure.
Davie Moyes is the bookies’ favourite to replace him. Current SFA performance director Malky Mackay is a close second.
There is no urgency, however, with Northern Ireland’s play-off fate, and the knock-on effect failure to make it to Russia would have on Michael O’Neill’s willingness to be considered, sure to be a factor.
Mark McGhee, Strachan’s assistant, has also left his post.
Stewart Regan, SFA chief executive, said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Gordon for his excellent service to the national team.
“I know how disappointed he was that we couldn’t secure a play-off place but to come so close was a tribute to the belief he instilled in his squad.
“After almost five years the board felt it was time for a new direction to prepare for the Uefa Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and also the forthcoming Uefa Nations League.
“We are grateful to both Gordon and Mark for their efforts and wish them the best of luck in the future.”
Strachan said: “I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again.
“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 who has come in to represent their country.
“Together we have shared some really magical moments and those memories will live with me for ever.
“Of course, what made those moments special was the unwavering support of our fans.
“Through highs and lows you have stayed with the team and my biggest regret is not being able to provide the finals tournament you deserve.
“I would like to thank the board, the backroom staff and everyone at the Scottish FA for the help and support they have given me as national coach. It has been a real privilege.”
Time up: Gordon Strachan and assistant Mark McGhee.