GORDON Strachan has insisted Scotland can qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Scotland boss, who has just signed a new two-year contract to cover the qualifying period, has said he was disappointed not to guide the country to next summer’s European Championships, but after taking a week to mull over his future, he says he is confident that he and his players can finally end the nation’s exile from major tournaments.
“Working with those players is fantastic. They spent 66 days away from their families for no match fee and no bonuses. I would ask you to go 66 days away from your families for no extra money. That is hard going. They kept turning up with injuries and wanting to play and that satisfies the coaching staff. The fans were magnificent, that helps, so there was a lot that was right.
“What I did enjoy was watching them play at times. As a manager you just think winning but I actually enjoyed the way they went about it. Their attitude is the most important thing because then you think that we can get better and we will get better. You look at the group and think ‘can we qualify?’ and you go ‘yes we can’. I don’t need anyone else’s opinion on that one. I look at that myself and say ‘can we qualify with the group of players we have got’ and the answer is yes.”
Strachan took over back in January 2013 and has been in charge for 16 competitive matches, with a 44 per cent win record. He guided Scotland to fourth in their Euro qualifying group, behind reigning world champions Germany, Poland and Republic of Ireland.
In September next year they will launch their bid to qualify for the World Cup in 2018. It will be a tough task, but Strachan has revealed that he always intended to extend his term at the helm.
“Two months ago it was simple, I thought this is fantastic, I like this job. Then there was a bit of a hiccup. So you have to speak to the board, coaching staff, players, family and take all that into consideration.
“The fans have shown they really appreciated the players and how they went about their jobs and that made it far easier to make the decision. It was always going to be this but because we didn’t qualify I had to consider everybody.”