Craig Levein talked up the quality in his squad. He was wrong. It wasn't there...

IT was inevitable really.

Loading Comments
Craig Levein won only three games from 12 competitve matches in charge
Craig Levein won only three games from 12 competitve matches in charge

But now the gunsmoke has cleared and Craig Levein has gone it is time to find the man capable of dragging the international team forward.

Easier said than done, though.

The SFA find themselves looking to appoint their sixth manager in just 10 years after finally calling time on Levein's time at the helm as the so-called Road to Rio crumbled beneath us pretty much from the first steps.

Under Levein's leadership, a European Championship qualifying campaign came and went and the current World Cup qualifying campaign is dead in the water only four games into the qualifying campaign.

Having only managed back-to-back draws in the opening two home matches against Serbia and Macedonia, and then lost the next two matches on the road against Wales and Belgium, the writing was on the wall.

Football is, of course, a result driven business and Levein's competitive record of just three wins from 12 matches, with four draws and five defeats, was simply not good enough.

In truth, there wasn't really any way back for him after the Tartan Army also lost faith.

Looking at the bigger picture though, what expectations should be placed on the next manager of Scotland?

Because if we are going to pull the trigger on every manager who fails to qualify for a major competition then seven managers in ten years is going to become 14 in 20 years.

Maybe this is the time for a reality check. One of the biggest mistakes Levein made was to repeatedly highlight the quality within his squad.

He was wrong. The so-called quality quite simply isn't there. The last four games more than prove that.

He was also wrong to go without any kind of striker in the game against the Czech Republic and, as much as his reasons for not resolving the Steven Fletcher situation were correct morally, he wasn't in a position not to find a resolution for as long as he did.

But enough of errors made in the past, it is now time to look forward. But the SFA need to get the right man if progress is to be made.

The favourites, of course, to take over include Gordon Strachan, Walter Smith and Alex McLeish, the latter two having previously managed the national team and at least coming close to reaching a major competition.

Strachan, though, may just be the most intriguing. Known to be at his happiest on the training ground, would the lack of day-to-day involvement prove difficult for him? Also, would any of them be willing to risk their reputations on a job that has ruined so many?

Smith decided to quit Scotland to answer the call of his beloved Rangers last time around, so would his appoint be universally popular with Scotland fans?

Or would they accept his experience and ability to organise a team is worth forgiving and forgetting?

Maybe it is time for the SFA to think outside the box? What about another foreign gaffer?

Berti Vogts was a disaster but does that means it is a job only for Scottish managers? Time, of course, will tell but the SFA like to go with what they perceive to be a safe option.

As expected, news of Levein's dismissal didn't exactly go down well with many of his players. Charlie Adam vented his spleen at the decision and blamed the press.

While some of the criticism was aimed in Levein's direction became personal, which was most certainly wrong, it is a decision that will be popular with the Tartan Army and also one which the seven-man SFA board believed was right.

Rather than spout such rubbish, Adam would be better to reflect on the laziness that allowed Gareth Bale to pass him with as much ease as he did in Cardiff to score the winning goal for Wales which contributed to Levein being axed.

It might be until the Scottish game produces a better quality of player that a manager manages to lead the country to a major competition. It is, at this moment in time, difficult to see progress being made regardless of who is at the helm.


Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.


Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email
Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Sussed in the City

I don’t think I’ve uttered the words “no, he’s not a stripper we’ve hired so put him down.




Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.

Games news:

Putting the world to rights

Gail's Gab

My thoughts after Police Scotland are ordered to apologise over IRA interrogation techniques slur.

Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat Cubie’s job is to find and share with you the fabulous things the city has to offer, from gigs to gastro.