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Friday 13th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Scottish Football Association ready to usher in a ‘new era’

Gordon Strachan’s reign as Scotland manager ended yesterday after failing to guide the country to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) announced that Strachan would not continue in the role after the 2-2 draw in Slovenia on Sunday.

Strachan’s future came under serious consideration after his side took just four points from their first four matches in Group F, but they finished the campaign unbeaten in six matches, finishing third behind Slovakia on goal difference.

After an SFA board meeting at Hampden Park, the governing body said it was “agreed that a new national coach should be recruited to provide fresh impetus” and the announcement suggested the decision was mutual.

Strachan said: “I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again. I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention.

“The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player who has come in to represent their country.

“Of course, what made those moments special was the unwavering support of our fans. Through highs and lows you have stayed with the team and my biggest regret is not being able to provide the finals tournament you deserve.”

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan added: “After almost five years the board felt it was time for a new direction to prepare for the Uefa Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and also the forthcoming Uefa Nations League.”

SFA president Alan McRae, who has been a firm backer of Strachan, said after the meeting: “There is always disappointment, obviously. But at the end of the day, that’s it. It’s a new era.”

Thoughts will immediately turn to a successor with former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland boss David Moyes quickly emerging as favourite with several bookmakers.

Malky Mackay, the SFA’s performance director, has also been mentioned along with the likes of Paul Lambert, Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes and former Scotland boss Alex McLeish, while there have been calls for the governing body to make a bold bid for Northern Ireland’s Michael O’Neill.