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Alex McLeish sacked as Scotland manager following Kazakhstan humiliation

Thu, Apr 18 2019

McLeish has had two spells in charge of the national team after a short spell in 2007. Credit: Scottish FA

Alex McLeish has been sacked as Scotland manager just two games into their Euro 2020 campaign following their disastrous 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan on the opening day.

McLeish’s side managed to salvage some pride with a 2-0 win over San Marino on matchday two but it wasn’t enough to save the former Rangers and Birmingham City manager from the axe.

Assistant coaches Peter Grant, James McFadden and Stevie Woods have also been let go after just 12 matches in the dugout.

The Glaswegian took over from Gordon Strachan last February and guided Scotland to the top of their UEFA Nations League C group – securing a play-off for the European Championships in 2020.

However, the heavy defeat to the Kazakhs – who were 77 places below the Scots in the FIFA rankings – was deemed by the board to make the 60-year-old’s position untenable.

“The Scottish FA can confirm that Alex McLeish will leave his role as Scotland National Head Coach with immediate effect,” read the association’s statement on Thursday afternoon.

“The decision was agreed collectively by the Board at its scheduled meeting today and in consultation with Alex.

“His assistant coaches, Peter Grant, James McFadden and Stevie Woods, will also leave their roles.”

McLeish previously had a spell in charge of the national team in 2007, when he brought Scotland within a game of qualifying for Euro 2008 before losing narrowly to Italy in a final-day decider.

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “The decision to part company was not an easy one, especially given Alex’s status as a Scotland Hall of Fame member, earning 77 international caps, having played in three World Cups and taken charge of the national team for two spells.

“It was only taken after full consideration by the Board and after an honest and respectful conversation between myself and Alex earlier in the week.

“Ultimately, the performances and results as a whole in the past year – and, in particular, the manner of the defeat in Kazakhstan – did not indicate the progress expected with a squad we believe to be capable of achieving more.

“With that in mind, it was agreed that we would seek to recruit a new management team to take us forward for the remainder of European Qualifying campaign.”

McLeish added his thanks, stating: “I am grateful for the opportunity to have managed my country for a second time and leave knowing that I gave my all in the pursuit of success.

“I am proud that together we finished top of our UEFA Nations League group and qualified for the UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs, which gives us a real opportunity to reach a major tournament for the first time in over 20 years.

“I am also pleased to have given many younger players a first taste of international football that will stand them – and the country – in good stead for the future.

“I would like to thank those players who showed a passion for wearing the dark blue, my assistants, Peter, James and Stevie, for their contribution over the past year.

“I would also like to extend my gratitude to the entire national team backroom staff and my friends and colleagues at the Scottish FA.

“Finally, I would like to thank the Scotland fans for their unwavering support of the team and look forward to taking my place among them in the future.”