Scotland brought their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign to a close with a 6-0 victory over Gibraltar described by manager Gordon Strachan as one of the most memorable games of his career.
While the win was of no significance to a Euro 2016 qualifying campaign that ended after Thursday’s 2-2 draw v Poland, Strachan was provided with much food for thought last night in Faro as he ponders his future.
Steven Fletcher hit a second-half hat-trick as Scotland managed to secure their first away win of the campaign.
On the question of his future, Strachan has already confirmed he will take a few days to seek the advice and feedback from others, including assistants Mark McGhee and Stuart McCall. But he was overwhelmed by the support of the fans, who sang his name throughout the 90 minutes. Strachan gathered his players together at the end for a photograph with the fans behind them. Despite Scotland already being out of the Euro 2016 equation, the Scotland fans encouraged the players and hailed the manager throughout. Strachan was humbled by the support.
“I have been lucky to leave stadiums with a special atmosphere and it is usually winning a cup or a league or some other fantastic result,” he said. “But to have to one of your most memorable nights in football away to Gibraltar, if you asked me ten years ago… well, no, I wouldn’t have believed it.
“But, as I leave here tonight, I think you’ve seen a special bond between the fans and players. The players are in there buzzing because of the support they got.”
“You don’t get situations like that often,” he added. “I said with about five minutes to go in the game: We need to get a picture of this. It was a special moment.”
Strachan’s contract is due to expire next month. “We have a debrief now about what’s went on and see how we’re getting on,” he said. “ I’ll speak to people who are in my life, both in the management side and the family side and say ‘oh here we go.’ But I’ve got to say I’m so proud to be the Scotland manager. It’s a great, great job to have.
“There are disappointments along the way, that’s for sure, but I’ve got to say it’s been a fantastic experience.
“I’m not trying to be tricky and keep everybody waiting, but I think it’s only fair I speak to everybody involved and see the reaction of the players and people on the SFA side as well as family.
Strachan was visibly moved by the vocal support offered to him from the Tartan Army. Over 9,000 travelled to the Algarve – or at least interrupted their holidays to attend a fixture rendered meaningless due to Scotland’s failure to beat Poland last week.
Chris Martin set Scotland on their way with his first international goal after 24 minutes. Shaun Maloney doubled Scotland’s lead before half-time. Fletcher took over with goals in the 52nd, 56th and 85th minutes. Substitute Steven Naismith completed the scoring in the dying moments.