STRACHAN BIDS A SAD FAREWELL
Dons manager is among the hot favourites to take Scotland helm
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has conceded the Scotland job would be very high on the agenda for any manager after being installed as one of the favourites to replace Gordon Strachan.
The Scottish Football Association yesterday announced Strachan and his assistant Mark McGhee have left with immediate effect following the national team’s failure to qualify for next summer’s World Cup. The former Celtic and Southampton manager succeeded Craig Levein in January 2013 and oversaw the end of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
After a promising start to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Scotland finished fourth in their qualifying group behind Germany, Poland and Ireland to miss out on a place in last summer’s finals.
Despite the failure, former Don Strachan agreed to stay in place for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign but Sunday’s 2-2 draw in Slovenia ensured Scotland’s wait to reach a first major tournament since 1998 continues. Former Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes is favourite with the bookmakers to replace Strachan, with McInnes third favourite behind SFA technical director Malky Mackay.
When asked by if he would consider the Scotland job just before the SFA announced Strachan had left, McInnes said: “It is not a question I am willing to answer. We have a manager and my focus is on Aberdeen. Like most, when you start out as a player or manager playing or managing your country would be very high on the agenda.
“I am reluctant to talk about anything other than managing Aberdeen.”
Strachan was in charge of the national team for 40 matches, with 19 wins, nine draws and 12 defeats.
He 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 supporters. 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 SFA for the help and support they have given me as national coach. It has been a real privilege.”
“I’m reluctant to talk about anything other than Aberdeen”
OVER AND OUT: Gordon Strachan’s reign as Scotland manager ended yesterday and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, right, reckons the job would be high on any manager’s agenda