It would seem reasonable to assume that criteria in the job description for the post of Scotland manager should include mention of a magic wand. By the time the team begin what on face value appears an unappealing attempt to reach Euro 2020 – via the newly formed Nations League – they will be seeking to end a wait to reach a major finals of 22 years. On 23 June 1998 a Scotland side including Jim Leighton, Gordon Durie and Colin Hendry slumped to a 3-0 World Cup loss against Morocco. It was to prove an omen for things to come.
Yet in this instance it would be shortsighted to attach poisoned chalice analogies. Gordon Strachan’s successor will actually be the best-placed to lift Scotland back towards international relevance. In doing so, they must heed the lessons of Strachan’s demise.
It is perfectly routine for the Scottish Football Association to assume the position of whipping boy for virtually everything associated with what has been unavoidable decline in the country’s national sport. Nonetheless