STRA­CHAN BIDS A SAD FAREWELL

Dons man­ager is among the hot favourites to take Scot­land helm

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANNY LAW

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

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