CROATIA manager Igor Štimac has resigned after last night’s 2-0 defeat to Scotland at Hampden, it has been revealed.
Goals from Robert Snodgrass and Steven Naismith ensured Scotland remain unbeaten against Croatia, and ended their World Cup qualifying campaign on a relative high.
The former Derby County and West Ham stopper submitted his resignation to president of the Croatian football federation and former team-mate Davor Šuker, who accepted it, stating that Štimac would have been sacked had had not stepped down.
Štimac took charge of 15 Croatia matches, registering eight wins, three draws and five losses, including two defeats to Scotland.
Croatia arrived in Glasgow having already secured their place in the World Cup qualifying play-offs, with Štimac branding the final game with Scotland a ‘training match’ for the Croats - later clarifying that he had meant he could shuffle his pack and ‘try out a few things’ ahead of their upcoming play-off matches.
Former Croatian international midfielder Niko Kovač has taken temporary charge of the team, stepping up from his role as Under-21 head coach.
Štimac told reporters following the defeat that he felt there had been a ‘lot of people against me from the beginning’, adding: “It is a bad defeat. I offered my [resignation] to the president of the Croatian football federation because of the latest results of our team, because everything that surrounds us.
“Never mind that we qualified for the play-offs, I want to show some morale, certain responsibility and if there is anyone in the federation that does not believe in my work I want to give them the chance to change.
Štimac continued: “It seems we are not happy in Croatia to qualify for the play-offs.
“We were not happy after the first game even though we beat Macedonia, we were not happy in the second when we drew against Belgium or beating Wales 2-0, they said it was supposed to be 15-0.
“After Wales we went to Macedonia and beat them 2-1 and they said that was not good because they were on the up, we beat Serbia 2-0 and they said we barely survived and the goalkeeper saved us.
“We beat Wales 2-1 and they said we were lucky. That’s how it works in Croatia.
“There were a lot of people against me from the beginning.”
Following a second consecutive defeat to Scotland, Štimac added: “I told you yesterday that Gordon [Strachan] is the right man and he will improve it that much that you will be proud of it once again.
“I can only wish Mr Strachan all the luck.”