THE reaction to Alex McLeish's appointment as Scotland manager has been muted among many members of the Tartan Army.

The 59-year-old left the national team after just 10 games in charge in 2007 to take over at Birmingham City and he hasn't worked in nearly two years.

McLeish was paraded at Hampden yesterday after signing a two year deal and addressed all of the issues surrounding his return.

Q: So how does it feel to be Scotland manager again?

A: “It feels a bit surreal, but I believe I’m the guy for the job.

“When I looked at other guys who have gone back to take charge of their national teams for a second time, like Dick Advocaat and Louis Van Gaal, I thought: ‘Yeah, that could be on for me some time’."

Q: Do you feel you have unfinished business with the national team?

A: “That’s right. When I left in 2007 (after failing to get to the Euro 2008 finals), I wondered if I would get another chance to rectify that, to be involved in something spectacular in terms of qualifying for a finals. It’s looking that way now. It would be some-thing of a massive feat but I think it is within our grasp”.

Q: Were you too young first time around?

A: “I remember at the time when there were rumours I might be offered it, I initially thought: ‘Nah, I’m too young’. Then I looked around and saw there were other younger coaches taking charge of their countries at the time. It was a wee trend at the time.

“When you get that call, it’s hard to say ‘No’. So the first thing I said was ‘Absolutely’. I don’t think it was too early.

“I tried to carry on the momentum there was at the time under Walter Smith. We did that to an extent and just failed at the final hurdle.

“Gordon was unlucky at the final hurdle as well and it’s now time to get over that.”

Q: Is experience undervalued?

A: “I definitely believe so. Some people say: ‘Will Alex know about sports science?’ But I put it in to some clubs. I was one of the pioneers in my younger days of introducing the analysts. I am going to use every tool that I can within the system to try and help the players get to Euro 2020.”

Q: The assumption is that you are an “old school” manager?

A: “That is their opinion. If you go back to Motherwell and Hibs you will know there were things I was trying to do there. But sometimes you don’t have the money or the resources to install it in the infrastructure.

“When I went to Birmingham wee David Sullivan didn’t believe in that side of things. He wanted to give me the money for the players. But sometimes even a thing like getting the pitch right for the guys is what matters. I was in to every aspect of the whole situation.

“We talk about Dave Brailsford and the aggregation of marginal gains. It is attention to detail, whatever you want to call it. All these little things can make a difference.”

Q: Do you hope Scott Brown will stay on as Scotland captain?

A: "Yes, I’m writing nobody off. It’s a blank sheet. I watched a Celtic team playing last night to a great level. Scott Brown was in tremendous form. So, of course, guys like that have got to be uppermost in your thoughts.”

Q: The SFA have arranged end-of-season friendlies in Peru and Mexico which haven't gone down well with some clubs. Will you go?

A: “Back in my day if we had been promised a trip to Peru and Mexico in the summer we’d have been ecstatic. It would have been ‘hallelujah, brilliant’. But I can understand the clubs’ stance with the way European football is now mapped out.

“They fall two or three weeks after those games. I do understand that they maybe feel it wasn’t appropriate timing. But it’s there and we are going to go.

“It may be a good opportunity for other players. Some other players might be thinking: ‘That’s a chance for me to get on that plane and impress the manager’. There is always something good out of it. You can always try to look for something good out of something perceived to be negative.”

Q: Would you take eight or nine Celtic players just weeks before the Champions League?

A: “I think we have to address that nearer the time. We have to have an understanding and rapport with the clubs. We are borrowing their players to turn out for the national team. We will talk, we’ll communicate and see what kind of answers we get.”

Q: What are your views on the SFA not having a chief executive to work with?

A: “I will embrace everybody at Hampden. We have analysts at Oriam as well. I am going to be full-on into these projects and give every bit of help I can.

"If the chief executive comes he comes. I think in the past we have appointed managers when there haven’t been chief execs. I don’t see it as a major negative on us."

Q: Do you dare to dream of playing England at Hampden in the Euro 2020 finals?

A: “Of course you have those ambitions. Do you try to visualise something like that? Yeah. You have got to think like that."

Q: But you’ve only got one campaign to get it right?

A: “Yes, and that’s brilliant. There is pressure there, but there is always pressure when you are in a football job. It gives you a goal. It’s a good pressure. The reason I turned a few jobs down over the last couple of years was because it was firefighting again. I’ve got a really good chance in a job like this and there is no greater feeling than leading your country.”

Q: Were you involved in a potential takeover of Charlton?

A: “There were friends of mine in London who looked to buy Charlton with the help of an investment company. They asked me to help them. It was a consultancy-type thing. Donald Muir and I grew up in Barrhead as kids and he lives not far away from me in London. He was going to be fronting it. But the owner was looking for too much.”

Q: Weren't you tempted to put your feet up and enjoy an easy life?

A: “It’s in the genes. It’s in the DNA. I watch loads of games. I live not far from Chelsea’s ground. I go to a lot of their games. You say: 'Well, I’ve coached at that level'. You think: ‘I’ve got to get back in there’.”

Q: What was Sir Alex Ferguson’s involvement in your appointment?

A: “I’m in touch with Sir Alex. He is always on the end of the phone if you need him. I don’t pester him every week. Every two weeks!

"He thought it was ideal for me. I had lunch with him recently and he said it would be a great job for me. Then, when Michael turned it down, he put my name in and recommended me. I already had my name in the ring, but he put a word and said: ‘Why don’t you go for Alex?’ So you can blame him if I fail!”