Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Big Eck's back

So Alex McLeish is to be the latest recipient of the poisoned chalice that is the Scotland manager's job.

It seems that the fact that Big Eck is currently unemployed has as much bearing on his appointment as his coaching expertise.

But, having said that, McLeish was probably the best-placed of all the shortlisted candidates. Gary McAllister has no experience of top level management, whilst Jim Jeffries has done well at Kilmarnock, but hasn't seriously contested major trophies since his Hearts days.

Tommy Burns' hissy fit put him out of the running, but he would never have been the SFA's first choice anyway.

McLeish, on the other hand, has very recent experience of managing at the top end of the SPL and in the Champions League. He pulled in a decent haul of trophies during his time at Ibrox, and has the benefit of having been a top player in the squad when at his prime.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the job was the number of potential candidates who weren't interested in the post - a veritable 'who's who' of success in the British game.

Sir Alex Ferguson, George Graham, Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish were all quick to distance themselves from the post. In the case of Ferguson, this is understandable - he's top of the Premiership with the biggest club in the world.

But none of the other three, all of them very experienced and successful managers and all unemployed, showed any real interest. Has the Scotland national side become so little regarded that these men aren't willing to contemplate leading their country?

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