Mark McGhee hails Stuart McCall’s Scotland return

MARK McGHEE has welcomed the return of Stuart McCall to the Scotland coaching set-up and insists Rangers’ loss will be another club’s gain if they do not retain him as manager.

Gordon Strachan talks to coaches Stuart Mccall (left) and Mark McGhee (right) at Hampden Park. Picture: PA

McCall is still waiting to learn whether he will be kept on by Rangers after his two-month stint in interim charge ended with defeat in the Scottish Premiership play-off final.

His Ibrox commitments resulted in him missing Scotland’s last two games against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar at the end of March.

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But McCall has returned to Scotland manager Gordon Strachan’s staff for tomorrow night’s friendly against Qatar at Easter Road and the crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday week.

Gordon Strachan talks to coaches Stuart Mccall (left) and Mark McGhee (right) at Hampden Park. Picture: PA

Scotland assistant manager McGhee believes McCall may have missed out on high-profile managerial posts in the past because of his usual reluctance to talk himself up.

So McGhee was gratified to hear his colleague publicly declare his credentials for the rebuilding job required at Rangers when he spoke immediately after last Sunday’s defeat by Motherwell at Fir Park.

“I heard him speaking after the Motherwell game and he spoke brilliantly,” said McGhee. “He isn’t the type to blow his own trumpet, but I agreed with every word he said. I’m glad he said it, because he was entitled to say it. Good on him.

“I think at times Stuart trusts other people to judge him and give him a fair hearing. That doesn’t always happen of course. There are guys who make a bigger case for themselves and end up with jobs maybe Stuart should be getting.

“He has a terrific CV and Stuart will get his turn. If it is not at Ibrox, then it will be elsewhere. He is not finished in management, that’s for sure.”

Englishman Mark Warburton is the bookies’ favourite to land the Rangers job, while the Ibrox club are also believed to be considering several potential continental candidates. McGhee, however, feels it is not necessary for Rangers to look beyond their own border.

“How long have we heard from down the road in England that the best managers there over the last 20 years have been Scottish?,” he added.

“Scottish managers are good because they have a good work ethic, a good understanding of the game and are normally articulate which is a big part.

“Scottish managers have a lot going for them and we should continue to look to get jobs at the highest level and not worry about foreign coaches.”

Regardless of the current uncertainty over McCall’s future at club level, McGhee is in no doubt as to how valuable he will be to the Scotland cause over the next few days.

“We need Stuart back,” said McGhee. “Gordon and I felt the last time the squad were together in March that we were a bit stretched, in the sense one of us was working with the players all the time and therefore we weren’t able to stand back and take a good look at it.

“Now with Stuart back we can take turns standing back and considering things. In terms of the mix, it works much better with the three of us.

“We are all Stuart McCall fans here. We are not going to say anything different than it would be great if he got the Rangers job. But there are a whole lot of variables that we are not aware of. I’m sure it will all pan out soon enough.

“He joined us this morning and he’s fine. His voice was normal, his smile was there. Stuart’s a professional and he’s here doing a job for the national team. Whatever’s going on in his head or the background, he’ll deal with separately.

“Stuart will be totally focused with Scotland. That’s the pro he is and there are no issues with Stuart.

“Whether he is manager of Rangers or not in the future he will still be doing this job here. I think he separates the two and when he is here, he does the job Gordon requires of him brilliantly. This week will possibly take his mind off whatever else is going on in the background. It will be good for him.”

McGhee, meanwhile, has played down the controversy over Scotland’s choice of opponents for tomorrow night’s friendly with some supporters planning to boycott the fixture in protest at the deaths of migrant workers during construction of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.

“We are football people,” said McGhee. “We will let other people concern themselves with that. We respect other people’s opinions. Some supporters have said they are maybe not going to come because of political beliefs or moral beliefs. We absolutely respect that. We have no problem with it. But we have been asked by the association to prepare a team to play against Qatar. That’s all we will do.”