Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager – Scotzine has its say

Pic: Imago/Actionplus

Pic: Imago/Actionplus

With the news that former Celtic and Middlesborough manager Gordon Strachan is set to be announced as Scotland manager, the Scotzine contributors give their opinions on the man taking, what is increasingly being dubbed as a poisoned chalice.

Andy Muirhead

FINALLY! The Scottish FA are set to appoint Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager after George Burley and Craig Levein proved they were not up to the job. In short their tenures were major debacles and left the Scottish FA with more egg on their face than Kirk Broadfoot did using a microwave.

Strachan was my candidate for the job before Burley got his hands on the chalice. It has now turned into a job that most high-profile managers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, while others would rather choose QPR over the Scotland managerial job.

He may have failed at Middlesborough, but his success at Leeds United, Southampton and Celtic prove that Strachan is the best candidate for the job. And even better for the Scottish FA there is no fee to pay for him to snatch him away from a club. Strachan has top flight player and managerial experience, something that Craig Levein never had. He played at the top-level for Aberdeen, Manchester United and Leeds United, he also managed at the top-level in England and guided Celtic to domestic glory as well as securing two successive qualifications to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Strachan is one of these football-daft individuals who travel across the country, Europe, even the world and drags his wife along for company. Now that he is set to be announced as the new Scotland manager, his frequent flyer miles will increase as he takes in games in England as well as travelling across Scotland to watch his charges and potential charges in action. He will travel to watch the opposition and dissect their strengths and weaknesses, something that seemed to be lacking during Burley and Levein’s reign.

His backroom staff will also be important, at least we won’t have the likes of a failed Airdrie manager in a coaching role. Hopefully Strachan will attract a top calibre crop of coaches to the backroom staff to help aid him in his ‘braveheart’ revolution.

While Levein was looking to get down and dirty to reshape the Scottish national setup from youth up to first team, Strachan has always stated he is a man who has a vision to reshape the Scottish game and hopefully with the likes of Ricky Sbragia, Billy Stark and Mark Wotte among others on hand – Strachan could almost certainly be the catalyst for a resurgence in the Scottish national team

Here’s hoping. It is about time the Scotland’s fortunes did a u-turn for the better. Can we qualify for the EURO 2016 championship in France? With Strachan at the helm he will almost certainly give us a better chance than if Levein was still in the job and the remaining qualifiers for Brazil 2014 will be Strachan’s testing ground to blood new players, signal the retirement of others and get the right tactics and mentality instilled in his charges before the real battle begins.

Nathan MacKenzie

The appointment by the SFA of Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager is exactly what Scotland needs right now. The former Celtic and Middlesbrough manager is known for his straight talking style with a knack for producing hard-working attacking sides.

However international football is a whole different ball game to what Strachan has faced as a club manager. While at Celtic he benefited from managing a team with resources significantly superior to his opponents, similarly at Middlesbrough he had a much bigger budget than his Championship counterparts.

He won’t be blessed with that with Scotland. Instead he will have to get the most out of a team which lacks in International talent and skill. But one thing the Scotland team does have is plenty of players with top-level club experience in the Champions
League and the English Premier League.

Strachan will have to use that experience to make a team which sides once again fear. Strachan won’t lose the job if he doesn’t make Brazil in 2014; however the Tartan Army will be hoping for more than two points in four games that Levein achieved.

A win against Wales at Hampden in March will go a long way to help Strachan endear himself to the Tartan Army.

Sean Galbraith

There surely couldn’t be a position more tailor-made for Gordon Strachan than Scotland manager. When he took up the job at Celtic there was one word on everyone’s mind – downsize. He walked right into mission impossible: reduce the budget but at the same time improve the performance. Yet, somehow, he pulled it off, achieving something not even Martin O’Neill could do – back-to-back Champions League Last 16 qualification.

The majority of his squad was built on a shoestring budget in comparison to O’Neill’s. But the style of football played, while at times mundane, was suited to the players at his disposal. They had the best performances of their careers coached out of them and many performed above their natural ability. Strachan’s teams played to the whistle, turning games on their head with minutes, even seconds remaining. The skills Strachan showed are exactly those required by an international manager and with Scotland he will be reunited with some of his former charges.

But despite his trio of SPL titles you could forget the misfires, such as his most recent spell at Middlesborough. If he can replicate the miracles at Celtic then Scotland have themselves a manager. We’ll see if lightning does strike twice.

Stuart Caie

As time wore on and the candidates for the Scotland manager’s vacancy narrowed, one name stood out from the rest from the very second the Scottish FA had announced a parting of the ways with Craig Levein, that name was Gordon Strachan.

A former player who had been there and done it on more than one occasion, a playing career which had seen his talents grace Pittodrie in Aberdeen’s most successful period, Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson’s revolution took grip and Elland Road where he was pivotal, with fellow Scot Gary McAllister, in their Championship winning season, coupled with earning 50 caps for his country this is a man who has earned the respect of his future charges.

For me the Scotland job requires more than just a tactician, as what makes a Scotland team effective is not a raft of one touch passing and flicks, it’s about fire in the belly courage and giving players the belief that when you stand on the field of battle you leave no quarter behind.

The diminutive battler has one quality that shone throughout his career and that was his ability to forget his size and take on the biggest opponent with no fear, something he should be able to instill in his players.

What his predecessor lacked was an ability to stir the emotions of the fans and the players and I for one look forward to hearing the Hampden roar resurface with the linguistic orchestration from Strachan. With the fans in full cry our players can hopefully rekindle the fight and desire which has brought wins home and away against France and performances against Spain and Italy that left you proud.

With Mr Strachan at the helm I am hopeful these days are soon to return, as well as the fire he always carries. The stats show we won’t be far wrong with him in charge.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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