Scotland manager Craig Levein, announced his squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Lithuania, with a squad boasting just five players from the Scotland’s top flight. But also had his say on last night’s results for the Old Firm and Hearts.
He said: “Scottish football is about more than just the national team. Okay, we can sit here with disappointing results last night, but I think each one has to be looked at in its own context. You look at the money the managers of the Old Firm teams have available to spend now as compared to Martin O’Neill and Dick Advocaat; you just can’t compare the two things – it’s impossible.
“Not so long ago we had teams who were in European finals and now we go out in August. Well I’m sorry but the amount of money that’s available for the managers nowadays is negligible compared to what was available then. The quality of players you can sign depends how far you go in Europe. I think we have to be very careful we don’t go over the score here.
“There are situations in football where you lose matches, and it happens. I watched the Rangers game last night and thought they were extremely unlucky to miss so many good opportunities and they’ve got a new manager there who is finding his feet – and a new owner who has no experience of owning a football club – and they’re both finding their feet.”
Levein added: “I’ve got great a deal of sympathy as you probably realise with managers, particularly expectation levels heaped upon them, because as I say those clubs don’t have the money they had years ago. Things will get better. For me, that is the key. There has been a huge shift in the SFA – moving towards recognising first and foremost that we’re at a low point and secondly, rather than feel sorry about ourselves let’s do something about it. And it requires everyone in Scottish football, not just me or Marc Wotte or Stewart Regan or Ricky Sbragia who has just joined us in the SFA.
“Those are significant additions but it’s about the whole of Scottish football recognising that we need to improve and rather than lament what has happened in recent times – let’s do something about it.
“I’m ready to take up that challenge and I know people in the SFA are. We’ve had great discussions with clubs in recent months and we are going to do something about it and anyone who wants to get an insight about it is more than welcome to sit down with us and understand where the SFA and Scottish football is heading because we’re determined to change things.
“The SFA looks after Scottish football. Admittedly, last night I think 25% of the players playing for the Old Firm teams were Scottish. There’s never been a better time to be a young Scottish football player, because the clubs don’t have money. The opportunities are far more for the younger players than there have ever been.
“If I’m a young kid just now sitting in the Old Firm team, or at Hearts, or anywhere, I’m saying ‘I have a real opportunity here’. And that’s the area the SFA can help on, we can help to develop young Scottish players and that’s what we’re entitled to do.”
Video copyright: Scottish FA