Alex McLeish urges SFA: ‘Give me a call’

Alex McLeish is keen to speak to the Scottish Football Association about becoming Scotland manager for a second time.

Alex McLeish is keen to speak to the Scottish Football Association about becoming Scotland manager for a second time.

McLeish, statistically Scotland’s most successful permanent manager, enjoyed a ten-game spell that ended ten years ago after just failing to reach the Euro 2008 play-offs.

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He is hopeful of featuring on the shortlist of candidates to replace former Aberdeen team-mate Gordon Strachan. The SFA started drawing up a list of names yesterday.

Strachan left his post on Thursday when the SFA opted not to offer him a new contract. Chief executive Stewart Regan is leading the hunt for a new manager but, with Scotland’s next competitive game in September 2018, there is plenty of time.

McLeish, out of work since leaving the manager’s post at Egyptian club Zamalek in May, hopes his record of seven wins in ten matches as Scotland manager would help him feature on the short list at least. He said: “It would nice to get a call. Just to talk and see what their thoughts are. There are a lot of good candidates.”

“It was a short spell, but it was a really exciting time,” he added, reflecting on a period which included Scotland beating France 1-0 at Parc des Princes. “It would be great to think the next coach or manager can get Scotland to a major finals. It is going to happen some day.”

McLeish resigned in November 2007 on his return from representing Scotland at the qualifying draw for the 2010 World Cup finals. He joined Birmingham City after the SFA originally refused the club’s request to speak to him.

McLeish has since managed across the same city at Aston Villa, as well as at Nottingham Forest and Belgian club Genk. But the 58 year old feels now is the time to return to international management.

“It could be a good time in my life,” he said. “The age I am at, I still feel I have a lot of mileage in me. I have done a lot of fire fighting in England and got a lot of books balanced and also kept teams competitive.

“The international challenge is different in that you are not wheeling and dealing and you’re trying to get a bunch of guys to play to outstanding levels. It would be everybody’s dream to be the manager to take Scotland back to a major finals. Some day soon somebody is going to do that.”

David Moyes and Paul Lambert are other Scots expected to feature in the SFA’s thinking. Michael O’Neill, the current Northern Ireland manager, is another candidate.

The Edinburgh-based O’Neill is in Zurich today to hear which side, from Croatia, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark, unseeded Northern Ireland will play in their World Cup play-off next month.