Alex McLeish: Gordon Strachan and Joe Jordan are the men to revitalise Scotland

AFTER a week in which Celtic beat Barcelona and new heroes were hewn into Scottish football history, two legends of old have been backed to lead our national team out of the doldrums.

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Alex McLeish is a former Scotland player and manager
Alex McLeish is a former Scotland player and manager

Scotland travel to face Luxembourg this week under interim-manager Billy Stark after the departure of Craig Levein as coach.

After this friendly, there are no more internationals until another challenge match in February before Wales visit Hampden in a March World Cup qualifier.

By then, the SFA will look to have someone in place who can take the country forward, and former Scotland player and manager Alex McLeish believes fellow Scottish Football Hall of Fame members Joe Jordan or Gordon Strachan can inspire a generation.

Jordan has been No.2 to Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth and Tottenham and McLeish expects the experience he has to rouse Scotland.

"Joe is a fantastic candidate," said McLeish, about the former AC Milan, Leeds and Manchester United forward.

"He is tactically tremendous because of working with Harry all these years and with the different systems they have played.

"I don't think Joe would be caught short in terms of tactical nous at that level."

However, McLeish also believes bookies' favourite Strachan has the presence to make an impact.

Whether Jordan and Strachan could perhaps work together in some capacity remains to be seen, but big Eck has enormous respect for both men.

"I think Gordon has the presence and experience to take the job," said McLeish.

"Respect of the players is key and Gordon, who has played for and managed top clubs, could get the guys to buy into his methods – ones that at Celtic earned him three Scottish Premier League titles."

McLeish has also insisted the current crop of international players have not given their all for the Scotland cause.

The final nail in the coffin for the World Cup 2014 campaign was the defeat to Wales last month, but McLeish expects better from the current group of players that will be at the new international manager's disposal.

"The bottom line is that you need to get results, we all know that in this job," he said. "When you are bringing in new players, younger players or guys who don't have a lot of experience at this level, you still need to be winning games and getting decent results.

"But I do think there are some good Scottish players out there. We have decent players but I am not sure that they have shown just what they are capable of yet.

"There is a fair sprinkling of Premier League players in there, when in the past 10 years we haven't had any Premier League players, and these guys need to raise the bar a little bit.

"They haven't produced that extra couple of per cent that exists in every player on the planet."

Celtic's win last week over the aristocrats of Barcelona painted a far brighter picture of Scottish football than the one that has been projected since February.

The financial problems of Rangers and Hearts have dominated headlines, but McLeish believes on the pitch, Celtic's result has given the country a massive lift and shows what can be done with a bit of belief and preparation.

He said: "To beat Barca is up there in anybody's book and the whole of Europe will be jealous of their result. This has given the Scottish game a real big boost.

"And it was one it needed, with us losing our national team manager, Scotland on a bit of a downer in the qualification group for the World Cup in Brazil, and the crisis at Hearts, where they are looking at the punters to save the club."

McLeish understands the pressures involved in leading the country and has a certain amount of sympathy for the manner in which Levein was kept hanging on.

"I thought the SFA would make their decision pretty quickly, so the longer it went on and the way they spoke about Craig's work at the grassroots level and the infrastructure he has put in place, the more I thought he was going to stay in the job," he said.

"However, the Tartan Army wanted results and we never got away to the flyer at home and then we had two defeats away to Wales and Belgium – and that was it."

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