SFA targets retaining Gordon Strachan to Euro 2020

Fans chants persuaded Gordon Strachan to sign a new contract after the failed Euro 2016 qualifying bid.

Fans chants persuaded Gordon Strachan to sign a new contract after the failed Euro 2016 qualifying bid.

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Scotland manager Gordon Strachan recently revealed that he was persuaded to remain in situ at the conclusion of the failed Euro 2016 qualifying campaign by the overwhelmingly positive response he received from supporters of the national team.

Now SFA president Alan McRae wants the 59-year-old to stay on for another tilt at the European Championships in 2020, regardless of whether or not he is able to end the 20-year exile from the finals of major tournaments by earning the right to compete at the World Cup in Russia in two years’ time.

The Tartan Army chanted his name throughout the 6-0 dead rubber victory over Gibraltar in Faro in October and that convinced Strachan, whose contract was due to expire the following month, to sign a new agreement.

Now McRae would like him to extend his tenure by another two years, claiming that the fact two Euro 2020 fixtures will be played at Hampden Park could be a major factor in the former Celtic manager’s decision.

“I’d like to think this won’t be Gordon’s last campaign,” said the former Cove Rangers chairman. “We want him to be successful in the World Cup campaign but we also have 
Euro 2020 in Glasgow.

“That would be just perfect for him. Gordon is still a good age and, if he’s still hungry and still wants to do it, we have a great opportunity to build on the last campaign and this one coming.

“I believe we have a good chance of at least getting to the play-off stages in the World Cup so 2020 would be ideal to have Gordon working with the team as we will have two games at Hampden.”

A disastrous World Cup campaign could put an end to that notion. Then again, it may not.

“We don’t really set targets: we just treat everything on its merits,” said McRae. “That’s the reality of it.

“Gordon is a good age, the job works for him, and he enjoys the coaching and working with the players. But at the end of the day, you have to have some form of success.

“Yes, we didn’t qualify [for Euro 2016] but we saw some seeds of growth and improvement under Gordon.

“We weren’t far away from qualifying. [The defeat in] Georgia was the one game and we then lost twice to Germany when the Republic picked up four points.

“It was fine margins. If we’d got three points against Georgia I still believe we’d have beaten Poland. When you really need to do it and you are 2-1 up with seconds to go…we would have held out.”

Meanwhile, after the SNP justice minister Michael Matheson last week threatened to withdraw the funding from Holyrood for grassroots football if the SFA refuses to issue punitive sanctions against clubs whose supporters’ misbehaviour bring shame upon the game, McRae argued that the current investment from the Scottish Government is inadequate.

“We need more support,” he said. “We need more money into football. Is the government receptive to that? We do get government funding but it will never be enough.

“Countries like Iceland leave us behind in facilities, without a doubt. We have moved on from where we were ten years ago but we are still far off.”

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