Gordon Strachan appointed Scotland manager

Former Celtic manager replaces Craig Levein

Gordon Strachan admitted being appointed the Scotland manager was the culmination of a personal project “40 years in the making”.

The former Celtic, Southampton, Coventry and Middlesbrough boss replaces Craig Levein, who was sacked in November, as the Scottish Football Association confirmed his appointment at Hampden.

He told Sky Sports News: ""I am very very proud in myself and my family are proud I've become Scotland manager.

It's a great day for me to do this and it's been 40 years in the making.

"There'll be rough times but I know there'll be good times too."

Strachan, whose contract runs up until Euro 2016, stated his desire to make Scotland a proud footballing country once more.

He said: "Every club you go to there's always challenges but this is the first time the challenges are in front of a nation.

"If you can be successful you can make a nation happy and make a nation proud and that is the priority for me to be able to do that with help from other people."

Strachan, who has been out of a manager's job since leaving Middlesbrough in 2010, claimed it was the perfect time to step into the role.

"You're always interested as long as someone asks you But I think that time is right now because I've had that European experience," he added.

"I've had to deal with players and I've also had a couple of years where I can look at national football.

"The time is right for me to be able to take a job like this. I have the experience, I like working with people, I like dealing with people and I like trying to make people better."

Strachan also stated his desire to make the fans proud as well as reach the finals of either the World Cup or the European Championship.

Scotland have not qualified for the finals of a major tournament since reaching the 1998 World Cup in France.

"To progress with the squad. I really want the squad and the staff to give something back to the country and the fans who support us because the fans are probably more famous than the squad now," Strachan added.

"So what we want to try and do is to give back something and make them turn up for a major finals competition.

"Through my TV work I've been to these competitions and the Irish have kind of stepped up for a while so hopefully the Irish and the Scottish can get together for one major and it'll be one hell of a party."

Asked if he had a message for the fans, Strachan responded: "Keep doing what you're doing because the support is fantastic."

Scotland have picked up just two points in their bid to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, but Strachan rejected the suggestion that a top-two spot is out of his players' reach.

"If we work together as a group and a set of fans I know for a fact we'll be successful," he added.

"I can't ask for anything more than we're doing at the moment.

"We're going to use the games to try and win. My philosophy is to win games of football, like Manchester United.

"We still have to collect as many points as we can and it's disrespectful to say we'll use the games just to improve.

"We'll give it a go.

"What I know is that these guys, for all they might get criticised, are the best at what they do.

"They play for Scotland and we have to find a system that suits these players to win games of football."

Strachan also denied the national coach's role is a poisoned chalice, adding: "I think it's a great job.

"At this time in my life I can deal with this. All my experiences have prepared me for this moment."

The ex-midfielder laughed off suggestions the Scotland job was the best opportunity made available to him since his departure from Middlesbrough.

"I'm not saying that no," he added. "I'm just saying it was a job I wanted to do.

"For a Scotsman, it's a fantastic thing. I played for Scotland then started coaching and thought 'I want to be Scotland manager some day'.

"You don't get easy jobs but the important thing is to make people happy by winning games of football.

"The more successful I am I look around and the more people there are around me.

"Together, we'll look to do something."

When asked if Levein's previous selection would require a significant overhaul to boost Scotland's performances in Group A, Strachan referred to his failed experiment at club level.

"I made that mistake when I went to Middlesbrough," he added. "I really should have used the players that were there and used a system for them.

"So I'm going to get a system that suits these players and over the years, through Mark (Wotte) and Billy (Stark), we'll find a style that works."

Scotland next face Wales, and then Serbia, but Strachan would not be drawn on any tactical switch for the March double header.

He added: "The standard of football around Europe has improved dramatically in that time so it's not a question that I can answer just now.

"In the immediate future we have to find a system that suits the squad here.

"The last couple of games could have gone either way. The Wales game could have fine well gone to Scotland so we're not far away."

Strachan revealed making an approach to an as yet unnamed colleague with a view to hiring an assistant at Hampden.

"I've spoken to one person and there's no doubt that they would like to take it on but this is before everything was settled," he added. "You'll know him."

Strachan's most successful spell as a club manager was arguably his four-year spell with Celtic, a period which saw the Hoops claim three consecutive Premier League titles, and the national boss hopes his new charges can replicate his old club's recent performances.

He added: "It shows that we can go up against teams with bigger names - individually better players at huge clubs - and you can beat them with a group that all want to go in the right direction.

"Celtic got a result against Barcelona this year because they played to their strengths, and the same at Spartak Moscow."