Gordon Strachan tipped for Scotland after Craig Levein sacking


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The Independent Football

Gordon Strachan has emerged as the favourite to take over as Scotland manager after Craig Levein's turbulent three-year spell ended yesterday.

Levein was removed from his role four days after the seven-man Scottish Football Association board first met to discuss his position and the Scotland Under-21 head, coach Billy Stark, was handed temporary charge of the team for next week's friendly in Luxembourg.

Levein had been due to name his squad for the game today but Stark will be given extra time to formulate his plans and the SFA board will meet to discuss appointing a permanent successor after the fixture.

The SFA chief executive, Stewart Regan, made the announcement with "real sadness" as he praised Levein's role in formulating a performance strategy designed to improve the long-term prospects of the national team. However, he admitted the board made the "collective decision" that change was needed as results were not good enough, with Scotland's hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup already virtually extinguished.

Regan said: "There are a number of factors but what was discussed in the board meeting needs to stay private. However, we are bottom of the group with two points from four games. We are eight points behind the leaders. The view of the board is we are not bottom-of-the-group material, we are better than that.

"We need to have a new manager to turn around the campaign and move us forward. We are in a results-driven business and Craig has been the first to admit that.

"In addition Craig has stated his intention to leave after the end of the current World Cup campaign irrespective of what happens. The fans have expressed their frustration. The Tartan Army have made their feelings known, all kinds of factors have been fed into discussions."

Levein was given a four-and-a-half year contract when he was appointed, during Gordon Smith's tenure as chief executive, and that decision has come at a cost. "We have not terminated Craig's contract," Regan said. "Craig Levein will continue to receive his full remuneration. The exact figure is a private matter."

Levein's job had been under serious threat since defeats by both Wales and Belgium last month and his overall competitive record – three wins from 12 matches – is among the worst of modern Scotland managers.

"It's too early to get into what happens next," Regan added. "We will take our time and recruit the best person for the job, whenever that may be.