Craig Brown urges SFA to appoint a Scottish manager

Share this article
Have your say

CRAIG Brown has told his former employers at the SFA to forget about hiring a foreign coach as there are plenty of outstanding home-grown candidates available to replace Craig Levein.

It’s 14 years since Brown became the last national team manager to steer Scotland to a major championship, but the 72-year-old still remains relevant to the modern game.

There was more evidence of that yesterday when he was the focal point for Aberdeen winning the Clydesdale Bank Manager, Player and Young Player of the month awards for October.

Ryan Fraser took the latter for the second time this season while Niall McGinn was an obvious pick as the first Dons player since Frank McDougall 28 years ago to score in six successive league matches.

Defeats in their last two games, against St Mirren in the Scottish Communities League Cup and Ross County in the SPL, have taken a bit of the gloss off the achievement, which is simply a reminder to Brown of how tenuous success is as a football manager and explains why one of the first things he did yesterday was express sympathy for Levein’s plight.

Given his own history as Scotland manager, there was never any chance of him offering an opinion on the rights and wrongs of Monday’s decision, but he is vehemently opposed to repeating the Berti Vogts experiment.

Brown is convinced that while Scotland might be lacking quality in terms of the players available, there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the country’s coaching talent.

Brown said: “You don’t like to see any manager lose his job, so it is disappointing the way things have worked out for Craig.

“What I would say is there are very good candidates about the place to take over and the SFA should look for a Scottish manager.

“There’s no need to think about a foreign coach and I actually think the rules for picking a manager should be the same criteria they use for picking players.

“Of course they can have any manager they want and go abroad, but I think everyone would support a Scottish manager and there are plenty of good ones out there. The Scotland job is a big job and it will be even bigger once we get to a major championship again. To be safe, you would go with either Walter Smith or Gordon Strachan.

“But you do have seasoned guys like Joe Jordan and Kenny Dalglish while you have outsiders in Billy Stark, Billy Davies and Owen Coyle.

“Joe Jordan is outstanding in every respect. If you ask anyone who has worked with him at clubs, the man commands the greatest respect.

“I would think Gordon Strachan would be the obvious choice having won the SPL three times with Celtic. He is very forthright. Walter [Smith] would be superb. If you want security, no-one would criticise if Walter was appointed.

“Kenny [Dalglish] probably has the best CV of everyone, having won the English league twice – with two different teams – which takes a bit of doing. He has a terrific knowledge of football and he couldn’t have been more helpful when he was manager of Celtic and I was Scotland manager.”

Brown was assistant to Andy Roxburgh at World Cup Italia 90 then was in sole charge as Scotland made it through to Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup finals in France.

The veteran Aberdeen manager is proud of his achievements with the national team but that pride is tinged with sadness that he remains the last man to steer the country to the finals of a major championships.

However, Brown would willingly plead guilty to the charge of being more blindly optimistic than even the most fanatical Tartan Army foot soldier when it comes to the sort of impact the next man tasked with emulating him can still make.

He added: “I am disappointed I am the last manager to get us to a final tournament because I am desperate to see us get to another one. but I haven’t given up hope. People will think I’ve lost my marbles, but we could still produce a miracle and get to Brazil if we were to win every game.

“We are at our best when we are underdogs and I don’t think the campaign is written off even though it looks like it.

“Paul Lawrie was ten shots [behind] going into the last round of the Open at Carnoustie and won. You should never write Scotland or a Scotsman off when they are up against it.”