McLeish to return? Moyes the man? Lambert ‘ideal’? Who next for Scotland?

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    David Moyes and Alex McLeish are both out of work as the Scottish FA begins looking for a new Scotland manager

    Alex McLeish says it would be “hard” to say no if the Scottish Football Association asked him to manage the national side for a second time.

    Gordon Strachan left the post on Thursday, four days after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

    Ex-Scotland winger Pat Nevin says David Moyes would be the ideal successor.

    His fellow former internationals Barry Ferguson and Kris Commons have praised Paul Lambert, while Ally McCoist says Sam Allardyce should be a contender.

    Allardyce left his post as England manager last September after only one match in charge, before spending five months at Crystal Palace.

    McCoist told BBC Radio 5 live: “If Big Sam would come up to Scotland… he’s a great manager. Big Sam is a very, very good manager.”

    ‘It’s hard to turn it down’

    McLeish was in charge of Scotland for 10 months in 2007 before returning to club management.

    “If you get the call from your country then it’s hard to turn that one down,” the 58-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live.

    “If they wanted to come and get you, they would make the call. I don’t like to go phoning around, saying: ‘Get me an interview.'”

    The former Scotland international has been out of work since a three-month spell in charge of Egyptian side Zamalek in 2016.

    After leaving the Scotland job he was unable to steer Birmingham to safety, but did take the Blues straight back to the Premier League and won the League Cup in 2011.

    Spells at Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Genk followed and he was a contender for Rangers’ managerial vacancy in March before the Ibrox club appointed Pedro Caixinha.

    McLeish, who lives in London, says he has not “lost touch with football” as he goes “to a lot of Premier League games”.

    “I know what’s going on, all the trends and modern ways,” he said. “[Chelsea manager Antonio] Conte’s playing three at the back – I was playing that 10, 15 years ago.”

    Former Scotland midfielder Ferguson believes McLeish would take the job “in a second”.

    The former Rangers captain added: “We weren’t great to watch [under McLeish in 2007], but we played a certain way and we got results at the end of the day.”

    Barry Ferguson captained Scotland during McLeish’s time as manager

    ‘I would go straight for David Moyes’

    Moyes is a former Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad manager but has been out of work since leaving Sunderland following their relegation to the Championship in May.

    Nevin acknowledges the 54-year-old’s “star has slightly fallen” since he built his reputation at Everton, but says he would have no hesitation in approaching him.

    However, the former Scotland winger believes Moyes may prefer his next job to be in club management.

    “If it was my choice, I would go straight for David Moyes,” Nevin told BBC 5 live.

    “However, I’m not convinced that in Scotland he is seen in that light at the moment because of the difficulties he’s had in his last two jobs.

    “I don’t know if David would even take it right now, because he wants to get his star rising on the domestic front first.”

    Would ‘ideal’ Lambert take the job?

    Lambert, 48, was a Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund and won eight major trophies in seven seasons at Celtic, including four Scottish titles.

    The former Scotland captain, who won 40 caps from 1995 to 2003, has managed Livingston, Wycombe, Colchester United, Norwich City and Aston Villa, before brief stints at Blackburn and Wolves in England’s Championship.

    “I would go for someone like Paul Lambert,” Ferguson told BBC Scotland’s Sportsound.

    ‘Lambo’ has captained his country, he was a fantastic player, he knows what is needed and he knows a football player. I don’t think a guy like Paul would hesitate to put in a younger guy if he is good enough, whereas I think Gordon was too loyal.

    “I think Paul still has ambitions to be a club manager down south. But someone like that would be ideal for me.”

    Former Celtic and Scotland midfielder Commons also endorsed Lambert’s credentials.

    “Paul would be ideal,” he told Sportsound. “I think he wants to get back into management – whether that is international football, I am unsure.

    “Talking to him a few weeks ago about spending time with different coaches in different countries, he wants to fill that brain of his with as much football intelligence as he can from all over the world. There is no-one who knows the Scottish game better than Paul Lambert.”

    Lambert attended Scotland Under-21s’ European Championship qualifier against England last week

    ‘Will they get anyone better than Strachan? Doubt it’

    Strachan succeeded Craig Levein as Scotland boss, initially to oversee the end of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

    Scotland’s attempt to qualify for Euro 2016 began brightly but they ultimately fell short of reaching the finals in France.

    Strachan and the SFA board agreed he would stay on to lead Scotland in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but a 2-2 draw in Slovenia on Sunday ended their hopes of finishing second in Group F and reaching the play-offs.

    Nevin added: “Will they get anyone as good as Gordon Strachan? Maybe. Will they get anyone better? I would doubt it. The very best ones aren’t going to take that job.

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    “It’s getting on 20 years, we’ve had managers such as Walter Smith, Alex McLeish and now Gordon and others and no-one’s managed to get Scotland to [major] finals. You get the feeling after a while that it might not be the manager.”

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