Cyprus Mail
Football

McLeish sacked by Scotland after dismal start to Euro qualifying

Alex McLeish, who replaced Gordon Strachan in February last year, guided Scotland to five wins and seven losses during his second managerial stint

Alex McLeish has been sacked as Scotland manager after just 12 matches in charge, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) said on Thursday.

The decision was taken by the SFA board after Scotland’s disappointing start to their Euro 2020 qualification campaign.

Scotland lost 3-0 to Kazakhstan in their opening qualifier and could only beat San Marino, the world’s lowest-ranked team, 2-0 last month.

“It was only taken after full consideration by the Board and after an honest and respectful conversation between myself and Alex earlier in the week,” SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said in a statement.

“Ultimately, the performances and results as a whole in the past year – and, in particular, the manner of the defeat in Kazakhstan – did not indicate the progress expected with a squad we believe to be capable of achieving more.

“With that in mind, it was agreed that we would seek to recruit a new management team to take us forward for the remainder of European qualifying campaign.”

McLeish, who replaced Gordon Strachan in February last year, guided Scotland to five wins and seven losses during his second managerial stint.

Despite being under scrutiny from early in his reign, the 60-year-old guaranteed Scotland a Euro 2020 playoff spot after they finished top of their Nations League group, ahead of Israel and Albania.

Yet his quest to end Scotland’s 22-year wait to reach the finals of a major tournament has been abruptly cut short.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have managed my country for a second time and leave knowing that I gave my all in the pursuit of success,” McLeish said.

“I am proud that together we finished top of our UEFA Nations League group and qualified for the UEFA Euro 2020 playoffs, which gives us a real opportunity to reach a major tournament for the first time in over 20 years.

“I am also pleased to have given many younger players a first taste of international football that will stand them – and the country – in good stead for the future.”

McLeish’s assistant coaches, Peter Grant, James McFadden and Stevie Woods, will also leave their roles.

Scotland resume their Euro 2020 qualification campaign in June with matches against Cyprus and Belgium and the SFA confirmed the process of recruiting a new management team will begin immediately.

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