Regan: Stark can put himself in the frame

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan insists Scotland caretaker boss Billy Stark can fire himself into the reckoning for the job on a full-time basis in Luxembourg tonight.

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Billy Stark can showcase his talents tonight
Billy Stark can showcase his talents tonight

The Scotland Under-21 coach has been handed the task of taking charge of the national team for the friendly in the wake of Craig Levein's departure.

With names such as Gordon Strachan and Joe Jordan being linked with the post, Stark would have to be regarded as a rank outsider to be handed the role on a full-time basis.

But with the SFA board still to discuss the process and time- scale of choosing a permanent successor, Regan believes tonight's match offers the former Queen's Park boss the perfect opportunity to put himself in the running.

Regan said: "Billy has got a great opportunity to show what he can do. He's a great guy, he has been very committed to the Under-21s.

"He has agreed to take this position on an interim basis, until the board have decided on the next step. Depending on how Billy performs and his own views, then clearly we would keep the door open for any potential candidate at this stage."

It has been suggested Stark isn't overly keen to be considered for the position and is content to carry out as manager of the Under-21 team.

But he says he is focusing all his efforts in attempting to make sure the players bounce back from a poor start to the World Cup qualifiers.

"I'm honoured and privileged to be asked to take the team," he said. "The main aim in a general sense is for the players to produce a good performance and a result, and I'm looking no further than that."

Stark has watched as many as nine players withdraw from the original 21-man squad which was named on Sunday, but Stark says it hasn't come as a major shock.

He said: "I think when you're involved in international management, as I have been with the 21s, you have a feel for how it works.

"The full job is exaggerated and magnified a thousand times.

"I have been doing my level best to get the most enjoyment I can out of this in terms of being professional and doing a good solid job. But I have said to the players that we want to make this a positive experience and the only way we will do that for all of us is if we get a good performance and a good result."

Senior players such as Kenny Miller have admitted they feel they let Levein down for failing to deliver the performances and results when it mattered.

Stark said: "I'm trying to paint that picture for them, that every international game they should have a point to prove, that we want to be better regarded in world terms in terms of where we are as a football nation.

"Every game we play gives us an opportunity to do that. Some obviously carry greater pressure and importance than others.

"I'm not saying this is the most important game Scotland's played, far from it. But for some young players that are involved, it is the most important game.

"The ones we have brought in have brought a good freshness and enthusiasm to the group and the other ones have sparked off that as well, so I couldn't be more delighted."

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