Football: Resentful Roxburgh given youth role

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The Independent Online
ON THE day he was appointed European technical director by Uefa, Andy Roxburgh was unable to repress the frustrations of guiding the Scotland national team for seven long years in the face of increasing difficulties.

Roxburgh's new job will be to co- ordinate coaching schemes throughout Europe, with particular emphasis on the youth sector and on countries with meagre financial resources.

While looking forward to his new role - he starts in February - Roxburgh yesterday looked back at his tenure as national coach, which many saw as a success with Scotland qualifying for the World Cup finals and for the European Championship finals for the first time.

'One of the main reasons I felt I had to go was because I had never been so frustrated in the job,' he said. 'The last year I spent with the national teams was the worst, because the set-up was ridiculous. Even worse, it was self-imposed. We handicapped ourselves and as a result we failed to qualify for the World Cup finals. If we carry on like this, it will happen again.

'I would make a final parting plea: for goodness sake don't put our players in the same position when we try to qualify for European Championship or World Cup finals.'

With 44 league games in Scotland, Roxburgh felt for some time that he was facing impossible odds. His side won 23 and drew 19 of the 61 games he presided over, despite a crippling number of call-offs which allowed him to field an unchanged team just once, and in only one of those 61 games was he able to field the side he considered his strongest.

Craig Brown, who took over Roxburgh's post as team manager in September, will also fill his position as Scottish Football Association technical director, building on the grass-roots groundwork put in by his predecessor.