Scotland U21s: Billy Stark happy to step aside for Gordon Strachan
Scotland under-21 coach Billy Stark has revealed that he asked SFA chief executive Stewart Regan not to consider him for the Scotland manager’s post immediately after he had taken charge of the team in their 2-1 win in Luxembourg on 14 November.
As he announced his squad which will travel to Korinthos to face Greece under-21s next week, Stark said he ruled himself out as a potential successor to Craig Levein once he became aware that Gordon Strachan would be interested in taking the job.
Regan reiterated last week that Stark had been a genuine candidate but the 56-year-old believed it would be for the greater good if his former Aberdeen team-mate got a clear run.
“My role hasn’t changed any,” said Stark. “If anything, I came back into this job having been energised by being with the big team. It was a great experience for me to be able to take them for that game and, hopefully, it will help to make me better at what I do.
“There is no feeling of disappointment that I didn’t get the job, none at all. I was in constant dialogue with Stewart Regan anyway and I made my feelings known to him pretty early on. I told him I felt that there were good candidates out there and that I shouldn’t be considered.
“Because I knew they were thinking along those lines, I believed it was only fair to let them know how I was feeling.
“I was happy and flattered that they had thought I was a good candidate and it improved my confidence when we got that result in Luxembourg.”
Strachan sought Stark out before his introduction at the national stadium two weeks ago and their discussions merely confirmed to the latter that he had made the right decision.
“Since Gordon took the job we’ve had a good chat,” said Stark. “Obviously, there was an element of handover there, even though the squad I took had been ravaged by call-offs. It’s a bonus for me that the new man is a Scot and also someone that I know. There were only one or two players he wasn’t too familiar with but we went over the recent history and I let him know that whatever info he needed would be there for him.
“He spoke about what he wanted to try to do. He sees the benefit of bringing players through [from the U21s] so it was all positive.”
Goalkeepers: Kettings (Blackpool), Thomson (Celtic)
Defenders: Duffie (Falkirk), McHattie (Hearts), O’Donnell (Partick), Robertson (Aberdeen), Toshney (Celtic), Wallace (Huddersfield)
Midfielders: Armstrong (Dundee United), Bannigan (Partick), Fyvie (Wigan), Holt (Hearts), McCabe (Sheffield Wednesday), Scougall (Livingston)
Forwards: McGeouch (Celtic), McKenzie (Kilmarnock), D Smith (Hearts), Watt (Celtic).
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