Scotland manager Gordon Strachan refused to discuss his own position in the wake of his side’s demoralising 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat in Slovakia on Tuesday.
“I am not sitting here thinking about myself,” he told the media post-match, insisting his thoughts were only for his players and the supporters who had traipsed to Trnava to witness their efforts.
Strachan’s overall record reads 15 wins (a 47% success rate) and six draws from his 32 matches in charge, but only three victories- against Gibraltar, twice, and Malta – in the last nine competitive matches has put his position under increased scrutiny.
With Scotland’s final qualifier this year – against England at Wembley – only four weeks away, the future of the 59-year-old, who signed a two-year extension to his contract a year ago, is in question.
BBC Scotland canvassed the opinion of players, former players, fellow managers, the media and fans on whether Strachan remains the right man for the job.
Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall: “I don’t think there’s anybody within the squad would want the manager to leave whatsoever.”
Scotland midfielder Barry Bannan: “We aren’t thinking anything [about Strachan’s future]. It’s our fault, we’re the ones who are out there losing games.
“We’re disappointed at the moment, we’ll get ourselves back to our clubs and try to perform, then the next time we meet up we’ll try to look at where we went wrong on this trip.”
Ex-Scotland midfielder and Celtic assistant coach John Collins (58 caps from 1988 to 1999):
“I certainly hope Gordon stays on. The SFA appointed Gordon, they gave him a contract and the race isn’t finished at the halfway stage. The prizes are not given out just now. There are still a lot of games to be played and a lot of points to be gathered.
“Things can turn around quickly in football. We live in hope and I just hope that Gordon and his coaching team is still there and we can surprise England and get ourselves back into the group.”
Ex-Scotland striker Steven Thompson (16 caps from 2002 to 2004):
“Last night was unacceptable and the supporters showed that at the end with their dissatisfaction. The second half was well below the levels that are required.
“Ultimately it always comes back to the manager. There were players that didn’t perform to the levels they should have done and over the two games, they can take some responsibility for not stepping up to the plate.
“But ultimately the manager picks the team and it is his responsibility.”
Ex-Scotland midfielder Kevin Thomson (3 caps from 2008 to 2010):
“I had the pleasure of working under Gordon [at Middlesbrough] and he is not naive. He has been round the block, got plenty of experience and knows that pressures comes with results when they are not what is expected.
“But I don’t think his time is up. Who could replace him and do a better job?”
Rangers boss Mark Warburton: “We need to look at far deeper issues. You need to offer a quality of challenge to a young player that they are not currently being faced with.
“I look at the national team and I see a very experienced manager, a very experienced coach. His credentials are there for all to see, so it’s not about changing managers – it’s about looking at the bigger picture.
“There is a lot of young talent in Scotland. We need to give them a chance to be the best they can be.”
Hamilton boss Martin Canning: “I don’t think you can say the manager is to blame or the players are to blame. I don’t think it’s always the answer to look to replace people and blame people.
“You’ve got to stick together as a country. It’s our national team and we’ve all got to get behind them.”
Craig Watson: Sack him now. Get someone interim in to look after the England game then appoint someone permanent after that match. Next competitive match is then in March so time for the new guy to get sorted.
John Kerr: He should resign today, if not he should be handed his P45. If he remains in charge we could easily suffer another four defeats in the group.
Tom English, BBC Scotland:
“The central defence is a disaster zone, it is horrific. But I still think a better manager would get more out of his players. They looked tired, demoralised, they didn’t look to have a backbone among them.
“There was no fight, no aggression in the first half or much belief. It was a shambolic performance and I would put that squarely at the door of the manager. I think his time is up.”
Scottish Daily Mail chief football writer Stephen McGowan:
“Gordon Strachan is a decent man and there are deep systemic problems in Scottish football, but should this Scotland national team be performing better than it is right now? Yes it should.
“I think he will hang on until Wembley, he will want to manage that game. If it goes badly, I suspect he himself will make a decision to say enough is enough.
“The genie is out of the bottle now, and it would take a heck of a victory against England to put it back.”
Michael Grant, Times chief football writer, Scotland:
“I think he should get the Wembley game and if something positive comes out of it then you reassess it. But that might be a natural end – and it felt a bit like that after the Slovakia game.
“If Scotland lose again then there are five months before the next World Cup qualifier for the SFA to indentify and pursue the next guy.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37631717