Strachan hopes to reward Scotland fans
Soccer:Gordon Strachan says his appointment as Scotland manager is the culmination of a personal project “40 years in the making”. The former Celtic, Southampton, Coventry and Middlesbrough boss today replaced Craig Levein, who was sacked in November.
Scotland have not qualified for the finals of a major tournament since reaching the 1998 World Cup in France and the Scottish Football Association confirmed Strachan was the man tasked with ending their long exile when unveiling him at Hampden this afternoon.
Strachan told Sky Sports News: “I am very very proud of myself and my family are proud I’ve become Scotland manager. It’s a great day for me to do this and it’s been 40 years in the making. There’ll be rough times but I know there’ll be good times too.”
Strachan also stated his desire to make the fans proud as well as reach the finals of either the World Cup or the European Championship.
“To progress with the squad, I really want the squad and the staff to give something back to the country and the fans who support us because the fans are probably more famous than the squad now,” Strachan added. “So what we want to try and do is to give back something and make them turn up for a major finals competition.
“Through my TV work I’ve been to these competitions and the Irish have kind of stepped up for a while so hopefully the Irish and the Scottish can get together for one major and it’ll be one hell of a party.”
Asked if he had a message for the fans, Strachan responded: “Keep doing what you’re doing because the support is fantastic.”
When asked if Levein’s previous selection would require a significant overhaul to boost Scotland’s performances in Group A, Strachan referred to his failed experiment at club level.
“I made that mistake when I went to Middlesbrough,” he added. “I really should have used the players that were there and used a system for them. So I’m going to get a system that suits these players and over the years, through Mark (Wotte) and Billy (Stark), we’ll find a style that works.”
Scotland face Wales next and then Serbia, but Strachan would not be drawn on any tactical switch for the March double header.
He added: “The standard of football around Europe has improved dramatically in that time so it’s not a question that I can answer just now. In the immediate future we have to find a system that suits the squad here. The last couple of games could have gone either way. The Wales game could have fine well gone to Scotland so we’re not far away.”
Strachan revealed making an approach to an as yet unnamed colleague with a view to hiring an assistant at Hampden.
“I’ve spoken to one person and there’s no doubt that they would like to take it on but this is before everything was settled,” he added. “You’ll know him.”
Strachan’s most successful spell as a club manager was arguably his four-year spell with Celtic, a period which saw the Hoops claim three consecutive Premier League titles, and the national boss hopes his new charges can replicate his old club’s recent performances.
He added: “It shows that we can go up against teams with bigger names - individually better players at huge clubs - and you can beat them with a group that all want to go in the right direction. Celtic got a result against Barcelona this year because they played to their strengths, and the same at Spartak Moscow.”