David Weir insists Craig Levein has not had ‘rub of the green’
CRAIG Levein is expected to learn his fate this week when the Scottish Football Association board question him on Scotland’s desperate results in the World Cup qualifying campaign and decide whether he should continue as manager.
But former Scotland defender David Weir has rejected the idea that drastic change is needed at senior and youth level to end the national team’s long wait for qualification for a major tournament.
Weir forms a link between the last Scotland side to appear on the world stage and the current team having been a member of the 1998 World Cup squad. Now retired, Weir does not think there is anything to be gained by changing manager, despite qualification for Brazil 2014 looking a near-impossible task after defeats by Wales and Belgium left Scotland with two points from four games.
“We should expect better results but there is such a fine line between winning and losing,” said Weir, who was back in Glasgow to hand out prizes at the Bank of Scotland Midnight League Player of the Year day.
“There is no better example than the Wales game. We were winning 1-0, relatively comfortable, scored another great goal and the game was probably finished. The goal gets disallowed and Wales go up the other end and score and we end up losing the game. To qualify you need everything to conspire for you.”
The Scottish Football Association decision-makers are due to discuss the poor start to the 2014 qualification campaign in the week after this one.
With a record of three wins in 12 competitive matches, most fans appear to want Levein out to give the team a shake-up and a new manager time to settle in before the Euro 2016 campaign.
Weir said: “It is difficult but the players obviously believe in the manager and believe what he’s preaching to them and his structure, and that goes a long way. Things have conspired against us, we have probably not had the rub of the green.
“Ultimately everyone knows you are judged on results but I don’t think you can question the detail the manager has gone into and the atmosphere he has created, and he has got the best players there” he explained
Debate over the double defeat has also focused on youth football with SFA performance director Mark Wotte warning his changes will take four to six years to come to fruition whilst placing some of the blame on diet and lifestyle choices.
However Weir, who now works in the coaching department at Everton, believes the system has improved markedly since his teenage days. “When I was growing up in youth football, it was jumpers on the grass and go and play,” he said. “There is definitely more organisation and thought being put into it. Time will tell whether it’s successful but I don’t think you could criticise anyone for lack of effort or lack of time spent thinking what the best way forward is.”
And he feels blaming Scotland’s diet and drink culture for the declining football success is too simplistic. “You don’t want to create robots and people who have no personalities, and are just channelled through one particular area and haven’t got a little bit of an edge or something special about them,” Weir said.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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