Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign died a death at Hampden following defeats to Russia and Belgium but the knee-jerk reaction to the latest disappointment is depressingly predictable.
The Scottish FA is considering yet another grassroots review to find out where they are going wrong and how they can fix it.
Give me strength.
The SFA spends £700,000 a year on its seven flagship performance schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Falkirk, Kilmarnock and Motherwell.
Since being founded in 2012, Dean Campbell, a graduate of Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen, has the distinction of being the first performance school player to make his competitive debut when he played for the Dons against Celtic in May 2017.
Goalkeeper Archie Mair, who joined Norwich City from the Dons in the summer, is also among the graduates along with current Dons youth team players Seb and Ethan Ross and David Dangana.
It’s too early to tell whether the system is working but it’s certainly not doing any harm. More importantly it cannot be written off as a failure.
The performance schools are not the reason for Scotland’s miserable results and the SFA will be engaging in full deflective mode if they decide the schools should carry the can for this mess.
Former Scotland striker Duncan Shearer, in his column in this newspaper last week, made the point it is going to take years for Steve Clarke to fix the mess we’re in and he’s not wrong.
I’ve read and heard from journalists and fans bemoaning why Northern Ireland, with meagre resources, are succeeding where we fail.
The answer is not just the players, as talented as some of their squad undoubtedly are. It’s the longevity of the manager Michael O’Neill.
He could have been Scotland manager two years ago but we dithered so long in approaching him that he decided to stay where he was by the time former SFA chief executive Stewart Regan plucked up the courage to make his approach.
I bet O’Neill is not regretting that decision.
The envy towards Northern Ireland is understandable. After all, under O’Neill they have done well against the leading nations and qualified for Euro 2016, their first major tournament in 30 years.
Scotland, however, continue to sit at home missing the party. There is no secret to O’Neill’s success. Following his appointment in 2011 his first game was a 3-0 loss to Norway. His second was a 6-0 mauling by the Netherlands.
Craig Levein, Gordon Strachan, Alex McLeish and Steve Clarke have all been Scotland manager in that time. You can add caretaker bosses Malky Mackay and Billy Stark to that list too if you like.
But while we repeatedly hit the panic button the Northern Irish FA have stood by O’Neill.
He has been in charge for seven years and that time has allowed him to build his team. If the SFA want to do something radical then perhaps they should try this approach.
Every attempted short-term fix has failed.