Strachan took lesson from fall of Sky Blues

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The Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan, believes the experience of being sacked by Coventry City has made him a better manager and taught him how to handle failure.

Strachan was dismissed by the Sky Blues in 2001 after almost five years in charge at Highfield Road, shortly after the club's relegation from the Premier League. He admits it was the most traumatic time of his career but claims it made him the successful manager he has become.

Strachan's Celtic side are targeting a hat-trick of Scottish Premier League titles and he believes his experience with Coventry stood him in good stead for the pressures associated with coaching an Old Firm club.

"Sometimes that has to happen to you," said Strachan. "I didn't want anybody to speak to me about football any more, I really didn't, because you think you've failed. That was the first time I'd really been, in my adult career, identified with failure.

"I wasn't sure how to handle it. I felt, 'You've let people down, people that trusted you'. And then you look at it and think, 'Well, I've done the best I can'.

"Later on, when I look at it now, I think it was rough, it was hard. But I think if I didn't do that I definitely couldn't do what I'm doing now. It's all part of the big picture."

The 50-year-old former Aberdeen, Leeds and Manchester United midfielder had showed promise with Coventry, and went on to steer Southampton to the 2003 FA Cup final before taking a break from management.

Strachan played under several highly successful managers, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Ron Atkinson and Howard Wilkinson, but he has determinedly not copied any particular style of coaching or man-management.

"It's a job [in which] you can only be what you are," he said. "And you'll find that you don't like yourself sometimes as a manager.

"We've all felt like that, because I speak to other people. We've all done it where you think, 'Where's my next victory coming from?'.

"We question our ability at times, but it has to be you. Imagine me being Ron Atkinson, trying to be Ron walking in my white suit with gold dripping and the rest of it 'All right kid, how're you doing?'.

"You couldn't do it. And [Sir] Alex Ferguson's fire comes from within, it's not manufactured."

The Edinburgh-born manager recognises there are aspects of his management where flaws can be found lurking.

"I have to be me, and there are faults there," Strachan said. "We've all got faults and we do things at times. It's the game that makes you like that."

Strachan is not thought to be a contender for the vacant Scotland job, as he is too involved at Celtic. He believes it would suit a manager of similar experience to himself. "I think the job is probably for somebody who has been through jobs like this," Strachan said.

Across the city, Rangers face a hectic schedule over the coming weeks but Chris Burke is not complaining.

The winger made his first Premier League appearance of the season when he was introduced in the 84th minute of Saturday's 2-1 win over Hearts.

Burke hopes the Rangers manager, Walter Smith, turns to him more often as the depth of his squad is tested over Christmas and January.

With Nacho Novo battling to overcome a shoulder injury and DaMarcus Beasley unlikely to recover from knee surgery until the latter stages of the season, Burke may find himself more in demand as Smith seeks to fill his wide positions.

"I have come back at a busy time and hopefully that works in my favour," he said.