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Who Will Be The Next Scotland Manager?

Date: 9th January 2018

By Scott Johnston, Editor of The Footy Blog & DP for Full Time Films.

Gordon Strachan was relieved of his managerial duties as Scotland manager on the 12th of October. After an initial smattering of reports suggesting possible candidates the hype has since died down and the SFA don’t seem to be any closer to announcing a new national team boss.

To me, that just doesn’t seem right. Previous favourite for the job, David Moyes, has since taken up the reigns at West Ham United and Derek McInnes has reaffirmed his position at Aberdeen.

It’s my belief that the role on offer is a very attractive one and the SFA should be out there approaching people who are suited to it.

With that in mind. I’ve decided to pick five managers out there that could do the job and hopefully guide Scotland back to a major international tournament.

 

  1. Michael O’Neill

Michael O’Neill has certainly proved himself as Northern Ireland’s national team boss. After struggling at the start, Michael guided his team to Euro 2016 and they managed to get to the round of 16. Then they very narrowly missed out on next summer’s World Cup due to a loss to Switzerland in the Play-offs.

The forty-eight year old manages to get every ounce of energy and discipline from his players, in truth he manages to get more from them than he probably should. That’s because they believe in him and will do anything for him. That sort of man-management seemed to be lacking with Scotland under Strachan and the squad could do with more self belief.

O’Neill still lives in Edinburgh and enjoyed spells at Dundee United and Hibs during his playing career, so his knowledge of our game will be spot on.

He was initially heavily linked with the job and reports suggesting that the SFA were seeking permission to speak to Michael O’Neill. That doesn’t seem to have happened but if he is the ideal candidate then they need to act quickly as the IFA are desperate to keep hold of him and are ready to offer him a new bumper deal.

 

  1. Alex McLeish

Big Eck has been there and done the job already, narrowly missing out on qualifying for Euro 2008. He masterminded our famous 1-0 win over France in Paris.

During his short tenure, McLeish managed to secure seven wins out of ten games. When he departed after just almost exactly 11 months, many said at the time that it was an opportunity lost and that the gaffer had unfinished business with the Tartan Army.

Since leaving Scotland, Alex has enjoyed mixed fortunes in England and also took gigs in Belgium and Egypt. He won all the domestic trophies when he was the Rangers boss.

During his stint in charge of Scotland, McLeish did get positive results and his teams always played with a structure and a game plan.

Bringing him back would represent an experienced hand taking over again. Th man himself must believe that he can go one step better than he did last time and take Scotland to a major finals.

 

  1. Steve Clarke

Now while Clarke has only just joined Kilmarnock, I believe he could be tempted to make the move into international management at this stage.

The fifty-four year old former Chelsea man is a very talented coach and people at Rugby Park can already see that as Killie are now in a top six spot in the Scottish Premiership.

Steve does his business on the training field , has a strong CV and is highly respected by top football people throughout Europe. The former West Brom manager clearly has a desire to succeed and be his own man, he could have sat on his hands but he took the Kilmarnock job to show the world what he can do.

Seems destined for bigger things and I’m very surprised that the SFA didn’t try to get him on board in some capacity before now. Scotland sometimes seemed lost tactically under Strachan, that might change if Steve Clarke takes over.

 

  1. Paul Lambert

Paul certainly has an illustrious playing CV winning the Scottish top flight title with Celtic and a Champions League triumph with German cracks Borussia Dortmund.

Lambert was much maligned after his spell in charge of Aston Villa but I doubt many would have fared better given the tough circumstances that presented themselves at Villa Park during that time. Before his time at Villa, he had impressed at both Wycombe Wanderers and Norwich City.

In his last two roles, at Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Lambert achieved the goal of guiding the clubs away from relegation trouble in the English Championship.

He led by example on the pitch and should command respect from his players. He also isn’t scared when it comes to giving youth a chance in his sides.

Being unemployed would certainly save some hassle and he knows all the key leagues in which our players play in.

 

  1. Slaven Bilic

OK so this one’s bit more left field but Bilic has a successful record as an international manager and he also knows the British game.

I feel his time with West Ham United was hampered by off-field distractions such as moving stadium and losing his most talented player in Dimitri Payet.

Had a 64% win ratio as the Croatian national boss over a six year period and they qualified for two European Championships. He helped bring through a very successful group of young players including Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic.

Likes his sides to be creative but also puts a strong defensive backbone in place to create a good balance. The Croatian players stated he was very interested in them studying opponents and having them fully clued up.

After his dismissal from The Hammers, the time could be right for Bilic to return to international management on a two year contract.

Some in Scotland seem to fear a foreign boss after the Berti Vogts debacle but the time could be right to give it another try.

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