SCOTLAND manager Gordon Strachan is today expected to pledge his immediate future to the role and announce his intention to help the nation pick up the pieces after the failed bid to qualify for next summer’s European Championships.
Disappointed that he could not deliver Scotland a place at a major finals for the first time since 1998, the man who originally took on the job in January 2013 had said he needed some time to mull over his position before committing himself to a new campaign.
But less than a week after they wrapped up the Euro 2016 qualifiers with an empahtic 6-0 victory over group minnows Gibraltar, reports suggest he has already agreed to stay on in the job, with Scottish FA sources admitting that while no contract has yet been signed and no formal agreement has yet been reached, an announcement is expected before the weekend.
The former Celtic boss was the subject of many pleas from the fans who sang his name during Sunday’s match in Faro and the players who narrowly missed out on a play-off place for next summer’s tournament.
Players feel advances have been made during his tenure and stated their desire to see him guide them into the World Cup qualifiers, which will include tasty head-to-heads against the Auld Enemy, England.
Many feared that the daunting prospect of having to top a group which also includes Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania and Malta to ensure automatic qualification for Russia, in 2018, would put him off.
But it appears that, having spoken with family and canvassed the opinions of friends, the 58-year-old former international shares his players’ desire to check in for the fresh challenge, with a statement anticipated some time within the next 24 hours.
Second place in Group F would grant Scotland a shot at a play-off and once Strachan’s signature is secured, the national footballing authority will work with him to identify friendly fixtures to prepare the squad for the first qualifier, away to Malta on 4 September next year.
Strachan’s first match at the helm was a friendly triumph over Estonia, but he lost his first two competitive games, the defeats against Wales and Serbia ending hopes of reaching the last World Cup, in Brazil.
Since then, though, he has helped lift the mood of the nation and, but for the loss of a last-gasp goal against Poland and Ireland’s shock win over Germany last week, his team would be preparing for a Euro play-off.