Just when you thought you’d heard every excuse possible from a football manager, Scotland’s Gordon Strachan has come up with a bizarre new reason for his side’s failure to make the World Cup.
Needing a win from their final match in Slovenia to make the playoffs, Strachan’s side could only manage a 2-2 draw. Robert Snodgrass setting up a grandstand finish with a late equaliser after Slovenia had recovered from Leigh Griffiths’ opener.
But instead of blaming the match officials, the congested fixture list, the weather or one of the hundreds of normal excuses coaches and manager use, Strachan instead blamed the genetics of Scottish people.
“Genetically we are behind,” Strachan said. “In the last campaign, we were the second smallest, apart from Spain.
“We had to pick a team to combat the height and strength at set-plays. Genetically we have to work at things, maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do.
“But it is a problem for us because we have to fight harder for every ball and jump higher than anyone else.
“Nobody can tell me their technique, apart from one player, is better than any of ours. But physically we have a problem. We seem to be able to battle it and get through just with sheer determination and skill and work-rate. And that takes a lot out of you.”
Fans and pundits were not impressed.
Strachan is blaming genetics for Scotland not qualifying. Utterly bizarre.
— Liam O'Hare (@Liam_O_Hare) October 8, 2017
If 'bad genetics' are holding Scotland back, like Strachan is suggesting, surely we start fixing the issue by hiring a taller manager, no?
— Michael McEwan (@MMcEwanBunkered) October 8, 2017
Strachan blaming genetics. Strachan, the 5ft 6in player who gave the best individual performance of any Scot at a World Cup in 82 vs NZ.
— Richard Wilson (@timomouse) October 8, 2017
Gordon Strachan wouldn’t have picked a young Gordon Strachan playing at the top of his game because of his genetics.
— ?Stephen Wray? (@CelticRockRoars) October 8, 2017
Gordon Strachan blaming genetics. I thought it was just bad defending.
— Ewan Murray (@mrewanmurray) October 8, 2017
Gordon Strachan blames genetics for Scotland not qualifying, that players are too small. Kenny Dalglish was and, indeed, still is 5'7.
— Kieran Cunningham (@KCsixtyseven) October 8, 2017
Gordon Strachan "Scottish people are too small. It's genetics."
Lionel Messi would not get a game for Scotland
— Celtic Collectibles (@CollectCelticFC) October 8, 2017
If Strachan is being serious regarding his quotes about genetics then he should be sacked immediately
— Jonny Baillie (@jbaillie22) October 8, 2017
Despite their genetic failings, Strachan said he was proud of his players and their efforts over the qualification campaign.
“Over the 90 minutes and the last year, it’s been an honour to work with these guys,” he said. “At this moment it’s obviously disappointment, but my disappointment is nothing compared to the players’.
“When you see them at the end of the game, I don’t think I have seen a group of players that exhausted and disappointed.
“As I said to them, you can go away and be really proud of yourselves because you pushed yourselves to places some maybe didn’t think they could go, because we were against a physically stronger side, a side that has never conceded a goal here.
“Against a physical side, we knew set-plays would be a problem and they scored from two set-plays. We can’t change genetics and just can’t play the biggest people in Scotland.
“Technically we are fine, but our lads have got to work harder on the ball than bigger lads who are 6ft 2in or 6ft 3in.”
Maybe someone should have told Strachan that mentioning that Spain are on average shorter than Scotland kind of negates his argument?