Strachan out as Scotland coach

Gordon Strachan

Scotland’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup has cost Gordon Strachan his job as manager, bringing to an end his four-year reign.

The former Scotland international replaced Craig Levein at the helm in 2013, but has failed to qualify for the last three major tournaments – the 2014 World Cup, Euro 2016 and now Russia 2018.

Strachan was informed that his future would be discussed at a Scottish Football Association meeting on Thursday, with the outcome leading to a parting of ways.

The Scots had recovered from a poor start in the qualifying campaign to put themselves in the mix for the play-offs, but a 2-2 draw with Slovenia on Sunday saw them fall short.

It turned out to be last of the 60-year-old’s 40 matches in charge of the national team, with a record of 19 wins, nine draws and 12 defeats.

A statement from the SFA read: “The Board of the Scottish FA and Gordon Strachan have agreed that the Scotland national team will be led by a new head coach in preparation for the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.

“Gordon’s tenure will end with immediate effect along with that of his assistant coach, Mark McGhee. We are grateful to Gordon for the passion, professionalism and commitment demonstrated since his appointment in January 2013.

“While the nation’s collective disappointment at not qualifying for the play-offs for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is understandable, it was nevertheless a mark of Gordon’s capabilities – and the squad’s belief in the coaching team – that we recovered from a poor first half of the campaign to get back into contention for a play-off place.

“Notwithstanding our unbeaten run in the group throughout 2017, with the emergence of a younger generation of players it was agreed that a new national coach should be recruited to provide fresh impetus.”

Strachan added in a statement: “I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again.

“I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention. The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player who has come in to represent their country.

“Together we have shared some really magical moments and those memories will live with me forever. Of course, what made those moments special was the unwavering support of our fans. Through highs and lows you have stayed with the team and my biggest regret is not being able to provide the finals tournament you deserve.

“I would like to thank the Board, the backroom staff and everyone at the Scottish FA for the help and support they have given me as national coach. It has been a real privilege.”

Strachan’s exit paves the way for a replacement, and that man could be former Everton and Manchester boss David Moyes, who has been out of a job since being fired at Sunderland after they were relegated last season.

The Scot is the early favourite with the bookies to lead his national side, having represented Scotland at U18 level as a player.

Moyes has found success as a manager hard to come by since a disastrous spell as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United, but this could be the job that turns his fortunes around.