Alex McLeish has been sacked as Scotland head coach the Scottish Football Association announced on Thursday.
The former Birmingham City boss took over in February 2018 with Scotland topping the UEFA Nations League Group to secure a Euro 2020 play off place. However, the Scottish Football Association feel something is obviously not right and a change is needed. In a statement they said that “they believe a change of management is necessary to reinvigorate the European qualifying campaign after a disappointing 3-0 to Kazakhstan in the opening match of Group I last month.
The Chief Executive of the Scottish Football Association Ian Maxwell said, “On behalf of the board, I would like to place on record my thanks to Alex and his backroom team for their efforts in leading the national team over the past 12 months, not least in topping our UEFA Nations League group and reaching the play-offs”. Maxwell said the decision was not an “easy one” given the stature of McLeish in Scottish Football, Maxwell listed some of McLeish achievements, a Hall of Fame member, 77 international caps and three world cups as a players as well as two spells in charge of the international side. Maxwell stated that the performances over the last year or so were not signs of progress especially the manner of the defeat to Kazakhstan, he said “Ultimately, the performances and results as a whole in the past year – and, in particular, the manner of the defeat in Kazakhstan – did not indicate the progress expected with a squad we believe to be capable of achieving more”.
McLeish also had some words to say following the announcement. He said “I am grateful for the opportunity to have managed my country for a second time and leave knowing that I gave my all in the pursuit of success”. McLeish who made nearly 500 appearances for Aberdeen between 1978-1994 said, “I am proud that together we finished top of our UEFA Nations League group and qualified for the UEFA Euro 2020 play-offs, which gives us a real opportunity to reach a major tournament for the first time in over 20 years”. McLeish acknowledged the massive support and he thanked all of the Scotland fans, he said ” Finally, I would like to thank the Scotland fans for their unwavering support of the team and look forward to taking my place among them in the future.”
Odds for the next manager show that Gordon Strachan is favourite to take over at 3/1, followed by David Moyes at 5/1, Steve Clarke at 5/1, Malky Mackay at 7/1. Some outside bets Michael O’Neill is at 14/1, Paul Lambert 20/1. Whoever takes up the role will have a big job ahead of them that’s for sure.