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It’s time for fresh blood in Scotland camp – but not in manager’s office

Alex McLeish
Alex McLeish

Former Scotland manager Alex McLeish insists he does not think there is any need to replace Gordon Strachan as national team manager.

Strachan’s position is set to be discussed by the Scottish FA board today after Scotland fell agonisingly short of a World Cup play-off place after Sunday’s 2-2 draw in Slovenia.

While the 60-year-old could walk away of his own accord following two failed qualifying campaigns, McLeish believes his former Aberdeen team-mate is still the right man for the job.

He said: “I don’t think there is anything to be gained by shuffling the managerial pack.

“The second half against Slovenia will always haunt him and I’m sure Gordon had sleepless nights after it.

“Now everyone is after him, probably mostly because of that last result, but the damage was done in earlier games. They failed miserably in some of the games we were expected to win.”

Scotland finished just two points adrift of a place at Euro 2008 under McLeish in a qualifying group that included then World Cup-winners Italy, finalists France and quarter-finalists Ukraine.

The former Rangers manager now expects the likes of Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor and Hibs midfielder John McGinn to become recognised Scotland first-team players in the campaign for Euro 2020.

McLeish, who left following the campaign to take over at Birmingham, added: “Back then I thought the nucleus of that group of players could go forward with the next coach and that we could introduce other young players.

“Now we have to do that very quickly. Guys like McGinn, who has been mentioned, and McGregor. Now it’s time to get these kids in.”

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