SHAUN MALONEY today begged SFA bosses NOT not to pull the trigger on under-fire Scotland boss Craig Levein.
Calls for the manager to get the bullet were being made in the wake of the Dark Blues dismal 2-0 defeat in Brussels last night, when any chance of reaching Brazil in 2014 was extinguished.
Tartan Army footsoldiers made their feelings clear at the game – with some calling for ex-Celtic boss Gordon Strachan to replace Levein – as Scotland slumped to the foot of Group A with just two points from four games.
However, Wigan midfielder Maloney, who came closest for the Scots with a first-half free-kick, issued a heart-felt plea to Stewart Regan to stand by his man as calls for Levein's head reach fever pitch.
He said: "Because of the character he is and the way the squad feels about him we are just disappointed for him more than we are for anyone.
"We know it's a results game and the more the team gets beaten the more the pressure builds on the manager.
"I really do hope they don't change the gaffer. I think I can say that speaking for the whole squad.
"We've lost the two games but the Wales game on Friday could have gone either way and from 1-0 up we should probably have seen it through.
"But we have given everything for the manager on Friday and again in Brussels. He asked us to play a formation against Belgium which was very hard to do physically but we did it, we did it from the first minute to the end.
"That result is unbelievably hard to take. Belgium were the better side, they're a good side, but again we've just lost another match.
"It was hard physically but mentally the result just hurts. It's hard to really sum it up.
"Allan McGregor did unbelievably well to keep us in it in the first half and then their keeper had a really good save from our free-kick.
"It was a really sombre dressing room afterwards but I think if anything it was even worse after the Wales game because we felt were close with that one until losing the late goals.
"But the dressing room is deflated again. It's just so, so disappointing and the players are just so down."
As Maloney pleaded for the manager to stay, Levein insisted he is determined to soldier on.
"I want to stay on as Scotland manager; the rest isn't up to me," he said. "I'll continue to do the job to the best of my ability and we'll see what happens.
"I would've loved to have got a result for them. It's straightforward: I'll just continue to do my job."