Birmingham a poor move for McLeish, says the Tartan Army

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The Independent Football

The Tartan Army spokesman Hamish Husband believes there will be no hard feelings towards Alex McLeish after he quit as national team coach – but thinks Birmingham City is a poor move.

McLeish's resignation came as no shock to the Scotland support as the 48-year-old has never hidden his desire to test himself in the Premier League. But his destination has disappointed many, who feel St Andrew's is a backward step despite the huge increase in wages.

Husband, spokesman for the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said: "I don't think many of the fans will hold it against him. But I'm disappointed it was the first club that came calling. There are bigger fish around that would have taken Alex McLeish.

"Alex is a student of football and I think clubs in France, Germany and Italy would have been interested. Tommy Docherty left in 1973 to go to Manchester United, but Birmingham are a pretty poor team."

McLeish won seven out of 10 games after replacing Walter Smith in January, and Husband feels 10 months and one memorable European Championship campaign was all fans could have hoped for.

Scotland now have a long while to wait until their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign begins. "You can't expect a manager of Alex's age and ambition to go nine months without a competitive game," Husband said. "He leaves us with the two precious memories – Paris and the Ukraine game."

After two managers quit for a return to club football in less than a year, the SFA face the tricky task of finding a successful manager who can provide continuity.

Craig Brown and Andy Roxburgh performed wider technical roles while filling the position in the 1980s and 1990s and Husband feels more responsibility could keep managers fulfilled.

But he feels the Tartan Army and the Scotland players want someone they can identify with. "It's possibly a no-win situation," he said. "Andy Roxburgh was one of the best coaches in Europe but didn't always have all the players behind him.

"Gary McAllister has been captain of Scotland, he can say, 'I have been here'. You want someone who knows what it's like to be there."

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