Strachan sets job talks aside as he focuses on task at hand
Scotland manager wants to seal Euro 2016 qualification before making next move
GORDON Strachan, whose contract as Scotland manager expires next month, will leave negotiations about his future until after his side’s final Euro 2016 double header against Poland and Gibraltar.
Strachan’s team can qualify for their first major tournament finals since France 98 if they can win their final two fixtures next week and the Republic of Ireland’s results against Germany at home and Poland away go their way.
The former Celtic manager has improved the national side since succeeding Craig Levein at the start of 2013 and many members of the Tartan Army would like to see him stay on regardless of whether they progress to France next summer.
SFA president Alan McRae and chief executive Stewart Regan have both stated publicly that the 58-year-old can continue in the role – but he is focusing fully on the two remaining Group D fixtures next week.
“I have never thought about it, honestly,” he said when asked about his personal situation. “My whole career has been like that. I have never planned ahead. I just live for the day, or the next game coming up or whatever. And it has been a great journey.
“I just want to focus on this. I am going to look forward to the game. You will understand if I just want to concentrate on the game. It is a huge, huge game, and it would be unfair of me to start talking about me.
“I don’t think about me at this moment in time. There will be a time when, yes, let’s talk about me, because that’s only right. But not at this time.
“I have never really thought about my future wherever I am in football. I just continue and see where I end up. We will speak about that once the campaign is out the way. The games are far more important.”
However, Strachan has given a strong indication that he would be prepared to remain in charge of Scotland for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign – and two competitive matches against England – by underlining his contentment in the position.
“I am enjoying what I do,” he said. “I am enjoying the people I work with. Hopefully it’s got a few months left to go. You enjoy it when you make people happy, no matter what job you are in. When you have the national job, it’s fantastic to make people in towns and cities happy. Money can’t buy that.
“Do I miss the day-to-day aspect? No. I have plenty going on in my life with five grandchildren, trust me. I love what I am doing just now, but we will talk after we finish this campaign.”
Meanwhile, Strachan, who recalled Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes to the Scotland squad for the Poland and Gibraltar games and has brought in Wolves midfielder Kevin McDonald and Graeme Shinnie of Aberdeen, stressed Charlie Mulgrew would be allowed to prove his fitness.
Mulgrew has been sidelined for three weeks with a thigh injury which his club manager Ronny Deila predicted could rule him out of the Scotland games. However, the utility man has been included in the 27 man pool.
“I spoke to Charlie and we agreed to put him in the squad and he will tell us in the next couple of days whether he can make it or can’t make it,” said Strachan.
“In conjunction with Ronny, Celtic and myself, we will see what is the best for the player.
“Charlie is three players, really. He can play in three different positions and he has become a huge player for us. But we are lucky, we have good players to call on if Charlie can’t make it.
“We would love Charlie to be here, he is good about the place, he is a terrific player.”
HAPPY IN THE POST: Strachan hinted that he would like to be in charge for the World Cup campaign.