John McGlynn knows how Craig Levein will be feeling
CRAIG Levein will have no problem in handling the increasing pressure on Scotland, according to John McGlynn.
The current Hearts boss, who worked as assistant coach to Levein when the national manager was in charge at Tynecastle, accepts the squad’s form is not as good at present as it was a year or 18 months ago.
But he said it was difficult for an international manager to be able to have an effect on it, as players did not simply leave their club form behind when they joined up with their national squads.
“There’s no-one better to handle the pressure, to be fair,” McGlynn said yesterday. “He’s a very intelligent man, very shrewd.”
That pressure has increased over the past week, as Scotland drew first with Serbia and then with Macedonia in World Cup qualifying matches. Those draws, both at Hampden, have led many to conclude that Scotland have little or no chance of qualifying for the finals in Brazil in 2014.
Levein has insisted that, with eight games to go and 24 points still to play for, such a conclusion is premature. But he did admit to being “frustrated” with those two results, and McGlynn used the same word when analysing what his former colleague would be going through at present.
“Craig will be frustrated. He’s carrying the hopes of the country on his shoulders.
“We all felt we had a squad capable of doing quite well, even though we were up against tough opponents. The frustrating thing is the guys have not played as well as we all anticipated.
“There were a lot of nerves in the first game against Serbia. Hampden was very, very nervous. Maybe getting one of those half-chances that came along would have made a massive difference to everyone’s confidence.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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