Defeat to the world’s worst International side was unthinkable, fortunately for the Scots they just did enough to ensure they at least got points on the board after the Kazakhstan horror show a few days earlier.
Being played off the park in the group opener was compounded by rivals Russia turning up in Astana, notching 4 and hopping on the short flight home safely in the knowledge that they already have one foot in Euro 2020.
F**k the SFA, sack the board and loud boo’s of discontent were clearly captured by TV cameras and microphones. Something which you do not associate with the well-travelled, well behaved, for the love of a nation Tartan Army.
Put simply, Alex McLeish should his week be penning his resignation letter after an embarrassing 2nd spell in charge of the country for which he gained 77 caps.
The former central defender is back after choosing to turn his back on Hampden back in 2007 when qualification was a real possibility to sprint down south and into a relegation battle at Birmingham City. An unforgivable offence.
He was unable to save them from relegation that season. He did however lead them back to the top flight at the 1st attempt before suffering relegation again – despite a league cup triumph.
Disastrous spells followed at blues’ city rivals Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest before another couple of short stays in Belgium and Egypt – only for the Hampden hotline to ring after their flirtatious attempts with others were publicly declined.
So, it was decided that in the wake of Gordon Strachan’s eventful reign that Big Eck would be given another opportunity by the seemingly clueless individuals that are slowly running the Scottish game.
How is that working out you ask?
- Wins – vs Hungary, Albania x 2, Israel & San Marino
- Defeats – vs Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Belgium, Israel, Portugal, Kazakhstan
Yes the SFA sanctioned tour of South America pre-World Cup was a shambles and would have tested any manager’s patience but it could have been handled better.
You even feel the get out of jail free card has already been played with the James Forrest heroics at Hampden, that saw Scotland take advantage of the crazy Nations League set up and have the play offs to fall back on. A new man should be given the rest of the campaign and subsequent games to prove that the Scots aren’t as poor as many are making out.
The usual nonsense regarding not having the players or talent will be trotted out as it’s an easy argument to hide behind, well it’s no more than nonsense.
The squad call up’s and equally those that are overlooked has a frantic feel – like they are close to a looming deadline and need to submit a squad ASAP.
We can’t recall ever seeing Mcleish appear at a game looking at potential talent, he could probably do with having James McFadden (a hero in his own right) get his backside away from the TV cameras and actually get on with doing the job as a National Team Coach.
Smaller nations with less resource are performing better, Northern Ireland being a prime example.
The staunch defenders will ask if not Mcleish – then who? Fair question but this overwhelming need for the safe option needs to change.
Without going into too much detail how about the likes of Claude Puel, Gary Monk, Slavisa Jokanovic or Aitor Karanka – why can’t they look to be different? A part time role? A foreign manager with no Old Firm ties? Only ideas but better than this safe mode option applied way of thinking.
Certain no’s from us for the McKay’s, Moyes’ or McCoist’s that will undoubtedly make the right noises.
“It’s never over”, “we started well” and “the players got nervous” have all been blurted out by a man clearly out of his depth this week and it’s best for everyone if he and the supporters are put out of their misery sooner rather than later.
Look up the word’s glorious failure in the dictionary and you’ll more than likely see a picture of the SFA crest frustratingly placed alongside.
The general feeling of always the bridesmaid never the bride follows the national side around and has done for 20+ years now.
Sunday’s victory over San Marino was a near perfect scenario for those who are quite rightly demanding change. A 2-0 score line captured the points, but the labouring performance did little to dispel the feeling that this regime has already failed the thousands who blindly follow their country all over the world in the hope of something to cheer.
It’s not often you’ll hear boos or songs of discontent from the Tartan Army but in the stands of the Serravalle on Sunday they were deafening.
They deserve better for their efforts and they are not receiving half of the effort back from the squad of that they are putting in.
Rod Petrie, Allan McRae, Neil Doncaster and all the others in the jobs for boys club – its over to you to act upon the vocal request of those who pay your wages and buy yourselves some time because make no mistake they’re after your heads too.