SCOTLAND coach Stuart McCall has already indulged in a spot of espionage on his country’s behalf as he settles into his new international role.
The Motherwell manager was confirmed as Gordon Strachan’s No.3 last week and will join the new boss and his assistant Mark McGhee in the Pittodrie dug-out when the new era gets underway a week on Wednesday with a friendly against Estonia. Before the announcement was made public, the former Rangers midfielder seized the opportunity to extract some precious inside info on the Baltic nation from Fir Park striker Henrik Ojamaa.
“At training, I pulled him aside and asked him a few questions,” explained McCall last week. “He said ‘gaffer, you never take any interest in me playing for Estonia, why all of a sudden are you?’ I was asking ‘the big boy up front, what’s he like?’ And he says: ‘no, in friendlies we always play 4-4-2’. Then I asked ‘do you defend deep?’ I must have grilled him for 15 minutes.”
Looking at Scotland’s future prospects, McCall admits to concern about the country’s young talent making moves to England too soon. “It’s disappointing David Goodwille, Chris Maguire, Danny Wilson, Craig Conway haven’t played much compared to playing every week up here and getting experience,” he said. “That doesn’t help. I don’t know why players do it. It’s maybe a bit of their agents, a bit of the player himself.
“Will Jonny Russell move on? Will Andy Shinnie, Murray Davidson? If they go down south and don’t play then it is detrimental to them.” However, McCall is adamant that optimism is the best policy as Scotland look to rebuild from the current ruins. He said: “I am fortunate to be part of this. When Gordon was announced, it gave everyone a bit of a lift. It had started to drag on, there was a bit of negativity. He is certainly the supporters’ choice. Hopefully it will prove a good appointment.”