THE fate of Craig Levein could hinge on the Scottish Football Association’s finances. A decision on the tenure of the Scotland head coach had been expected by this weekend, after he met board representatives early in the week and the matter was discussed at Thursday’s board meeting.
However, having failed to reach a unanimous decision, the seven-man board have asked for further information, with the cost of a compensation package being investigated should they opt to relieve him of his duties.
Levein, who watched Sunderland lose to Aston Villa yesterday, has made it clear to his employer that he wants the matter concluded before Tuesday when he is due to face the media to name the squad for the friendly against Luxembourg on 14 November. It remains unclear whether he will be at the helm at that stage and, who will take charge of the team for the match if he is not.
His assistant, Peter Houston, has already informed Levein that he will not be travelling to Luxembourg.
The Dundee United manager says his club’s SPL meeting with Kilmarnock, rescheduled for just two nights after Scotland’s game, would render it impossible for him to make the trip.
“Regardless of the decision taken by the board, I won’t be in Luxembourg, which is unfortunate,” said Houston. “I have spoken to Craig about it and he understands. The Wednesday of the game, I will be here preparing my team for the Friday night game. If it had been the Saturday then I would have been there and, if Craig is still in the job, I would have preferred that because I would like to be there for the big yin. Whether it’s a friendly or not, if he is still in charge, and that is not yet clear, then we will want to win that and there will be a lot of pressure and I would like to be there beside him because I do back him 100 per cent.
“I know the players all back him as well and I do think there has been progress but we all would have liked the results to be better. But I think he deserves more time.”
There is still a chance that he could be left in charge until the end of the current World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign, but sources inside the SFA now say that while that had looked likely, it is now only 60-40 in Levein’s favour, with the SFA worried about the backlash from the media and the Tartan Army.
“I know how hard he works and how much the job means,” says Houston, “and if the board decide the results are all that matters and they aren’t good enough then so be it.”