Craig Levein: The worst Scotland manager ever?


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The Independent Football

It was announced yesterday evening that Craig Levein had been axed as coach of the Scotland national team. An explanatory statement from the SFA claimed that they had made the decision "…primarily due to the disappointing results".

The timing of the statement means that the announcement of the Scotland squad for next week's friendly against Luxembourg will be postponed, allowing time for interim manager and under-21 coach, Billy Stark, to assess his selection options.

The "disappointing results" that the SFA statement referred to come in the form of three wins, four draws and five losses from Levein's twelve competitive games in charge since his appointment in December 2009 - a win percentage of only 25 per cent.

The only manager of the national team in the last 30 years with a worse record was Sir Alex Ferguson (20 per cent), but four of his five competitive games in charge came in the 1986 World Cup where his Scotland team faced tough tests against Denmark, Uruguay and West Germany.

Conversely, Scotland's most successful manager in this period was Alex McLeish who, from January to November of 2007, led his Scotland side to five victories in eight matches - a 62 per cent winning record.

In an attempt to replicate the glory days of McLeish, during which they beat France home and away in qualifiers for the 2008 European Championships, the SFA will reconvene to begin their search for the next national coach after the Luxembourg friendly. SFA chief executive Stewart Regan went on to admit that "…we are bottom of the group, but we are not bottom of the group material and want to move up the group as far as possible…".

The bookies' favourite to replace Levein is former Scotland midfielder and Celtic manager Gordon Strachan. The 55-year-old has been away from football for two years since leaving his job as Middlesbrough manager by mutual consent in October 2010, but was tipped by Alex McLeish to be a "pretty good choice" in an interview with talkSPORT.

With World Cup qualification already looking beyond them, the Scots travel to Luxembourg on November 14 in search of a confidence-boosting win.