Mark McGhee insists Scotland have the “best there is” in manager Gordon Strachan.
The management team of the national squad came under criticism in some quarters after failing to even reach the play-offs in Euro 2016 qualification.
However, Strachan’s No.2 insists Scotland will do no better with an alternative leader, and that he is the manager our nation needs “for this time”.
With England suffering from the consequences of an alleged “bung” culture, a straight-down-the-middle character like Strachan ought not to be taken for granted.
McGhee also praised Strachan’s reading of games, such as when quickly realising 19-year-old starlet Oliver Burke wasn’t quite yet ready to play through the middle against Malta. “What we discovered was that at this moment in time, Oliver is better in a wider area,” noted McGhee.
“Now we know that, so we’re not going into the Lithuania game thinking ‘I wonder if Oliver Burke could do a job for us through the middle?’. We’ve found that out and we know that now, and discovered he’s going to be most effective in a wide area.
“We’re better for that now. At half-time we realised that and made the changes we needed.”
“I’m biased anyway,” he continued, on the subject of Strachan’s suitability for the role. “But equally, when I came into this job, I had never worked with Gordon. Gordon’s my mate and has been for a long time, but I’d never actually worked with Gordon.
“Over the years, when we’ve talked about football, I’ve heard Gordon say things and I’ve thought ‘that’s not exactly what I think about it’ and there are other things [I’ve said] when he would think the same.
“But what I’ve seen since I’ve been in is a well-qualified coach,” he added. “Gordon is good at his job. Trust me. He is really, really good at his job. He is thorough, he is imaginative, he is brilliant with the players.
“His communication with the players, the way he respects the players and treats them like adults. The way the players behave is brilliant. I don’t think there is anyone better at the moment.”