New Scotland gaffer Gordon Strachan says it is time for the world famous tartan army to have a team on the pitch to be proud of. However at the same time Strachan acknowledged there is no quick fix and no hidden group of players for him to call on. Instead he has promised a team which will compete better by finding a system which suits the players available.
Here’s a look at key steps Strachan will take between now and his first competitive game.
Appoint his own staff – He’s already appointed former Aberdeen teammate Mark McGhee as his No.2 and says he’ll add another member to his team shortly. It is believed he’s targeted a new upcoming Scot for the coaching job and he says this role as key in forging links with the players.
Meet his players – Strachan will be based down south and this will allow him to get close to the majority of his squad who ply their trade in the EPL and the Championship. He will want to get all his key players onside, something his predecessor Craig Levein didn’t get right as the Steven Fletcher saga showed.
Get a system which suits the players – Strachan says it is no good choosing a way to play before looking at the players he has at his disposal. So he’s no doubt spending time watching DVD’s of previous Scotland games as well as watching his players in action for their clubs. It is believed on his time out of the game, since his departure from Middlesbrough, that Strachan has been visiting training grounds up and down the country as well as studying how clubs play across the continent. He may well favour a 4-3-3 system which will see him play with at least two natural strikers. This would be similar to the new way which Liverpool seem to be setting up with Suarez and Sturridge as part of the front 3. The preference for this system would mean Scotland has a goal threat, something which has been a constant struggle in recent times.
Choose a squad for the Estonia friendly – Big changes won’t happen, the man himself has already told us this. But we may see one or two changes. What will be interesting is whether Strachan opts to continue hunting those with Scottish links. Similarly it will equally interesting to see how Strachan deals with the SPL players and indeed the one or two capped players who are with Rangers in the third division.
Play Estonia and win – A win and a good performance is vital in this friendly. It will give the new manager a start to build on and will get the tartan army onside from the off. Winning as Strachan himself recognised breeds confidence and belief and this is what he says the squad and the nation needs.
This all seems very simple, however truth be told Gordon Strachan has one hell of a job on his hands. 1998 was the last major tournament Scotland qualified for. Since then Berti Vogts, Alex McLeish, George Burley and Craig Levein have all tried and failed as national team boss and for years there has been talk of big change throughout the game in Scotland. Mark Wotte is the man tasked with the development of young players and he will continue in this role but Strachan’s task is clear. He needs to start winning games.
By Craig Wilson
Craig is a Scottish football expert and a TFM Pundit