Scotland must qualify for Euro 2004 - Vogts

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The Independent Football

Berti Vogts, who guided Germany to victory at the Euro '96 championships, today set his sights on ensuring Scotland qualify for the 2004 tournament.

Vogts, who was released from his contract as Kuwait's coach, was officially presented as Scotland's new manager – the first foreigner to hold the post. "You can call me Berti McVogts!" he joked.

Vogts, 55, succeeds Craig Brown, who stepped down four months ago after Scotland failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup finals.

"Scotland means to me a return to the real melting pot of football," Vogts said. "Everyone who knows me knows I love the kind of football that is full of emotion and passion as displayed by the Scots."

"Qualification for Euro 2004 is my immediate aim," he said. "For the Tartan Army this will be my primary target.

"I am looking forward to the great challenge of working with the Scottish national team for the next four years, maybe longer. It is a mission for me that I will hopefully meet with success."

Vogts appealed to Scottish hearts by pointing out his impeccable record against the "auld enemy" – England.

"One thing I can bring into the job is that I have never been defeated by England as a manager," he said.

Vogts' appointment was announced on Wednesday after the Kuwaiti soccer federation agreed to release him from the remainder of his one–year contract.

He officially takes over 1 March and will be in charge for Scotland's friendly against World Cup and European champions France on 27 March 27.

Vogts said he would appoint a Scot as his assistant manager and will turn to other Scots to assess the talent at his disposal.

"I will be looking for a Scottish guy," he said. "That is good for the team, it is good for me and for Scotland. I have nobody in mind but I have a lot of good names. I am looking for a guy who will have a good look for the new generation."

Vogts said he would consult with Scottish managers Alex Ferguson, Andy Roxburgh and Walter Smith.

Former Scotland captain Graeme Souness welcomed Vogts' appointment. "A foreigner has done quite well for England hasn't he?" he said. "So why not? We live in a European community, we will soon have the same currency as everyone else, so why not? He's got the track record and he's been a success."

Scottish Football Association chief executive Jack McGinn described Vogts' appointment as "a momentous day" for Scottish soccer.

"It's the first time we have had a national coach who is not a Scot – but in that departure we are very happy we have this man," he said.

Vogts made his name as a player with Borussia Monchengladbach, where he earned the nickname "the terrier" for his tenacious style of play. He also had 96 caps for Germany.

As Germany coach, he was feted after the Euro 96 triumph but resigned in 1998 after the team's disappointing showing at the World Cup in France.

Vogts took over as coach of Bayer Leverkusen in 2000 but quit last year amid player dissension.