FORMER SFA president George Peat has launched a blistering attack on the current Scottish football chiefs for botching the appointment of Alex McLeish.

The 60-year-old Aberdeen legend is on the brink of losing his job as Scotland international manager, as Scotzine reported last month.

The disastrous 3-0 flop against Kazakhstan in the opening tie of the Euro 2020 qualifiers looks likely to topple McLeish.

But Peat, 78, who was involved in the appointments of George Burley and Craig Levein as their country’s team leaders, feels the SFA made a massive error when they allowed it to become public knowledge that McLeish wasn’t their preferred candidate to take over from Gordon Strachan.

He emphasised the fact that the much-travelled team manager was the third person they approached made his job even more problematic.

Peat was highly critical over the failed attempts to land both Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill as well former boss Walter Smith.

HAMPDEN HAT-TRICK…James Forrest following his trio against Israel during happier times for Alex McLeish and Scotland.

The ex-upremo, speaking to The Herald, said: “They made a mess of the appointment with Alex McLeish. Telling the whole world that they wanted Michael O’Neill was an amateurish way of doing things, to put it mildly.

“They should have found out before they made an announcement if O’Neill was interested in the job. People have contacts all over the place. It wouldn’t have been difficult to find out if he was interested in coming to Scotland or not.

“That could have sorted out the messy problem of it dragging on for weeks and then him turning them down.”

Smith was sounded out about coming in after the O’Neill saga and was intrigued by the proposition. But he withdrew his interest within a matter of days after the SFA failed to contact him again.

“They botched that,” said Peat.

Asked if he thought the O’Neill and Smith debacles had made it harder for McLeish to command respect in the role, Peat replied: “That is right. Reading between the lines, Alex was just desperate to get back involved.”

The governing body’s board will meet at Hampden today – and the main item on their agenda will be deciding on McLeish’s future with the national team after 14 months in charge.

The likes of Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths, James McArthur, Allan McGregor, Matt Ritchie and Robert Snodgrass have all either retired from international football or made themselves unavailable for selection during his second tenure.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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