Euro 2016 is realistic goal for Strachan, says Gary McAllister

Gary McAllister belives Strachan should focus on the European Championships in Paris in 2016.
Gary McAllister belives Strachan should focus on the European Championships in Paris in 2016.
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GARY McAllister has told Gordon Strachan to forget about qualifying for next summer’s World Cup finals.

Instead, the former Scotland skipper believes his former team-mate should concentrate on the European Championships in Paris in 2016.

McAllister, who won 57 caps, said: “Sad to admit, but qualifying for Brazil has gone. That’s a shame because I believe Scotland are missed at the international tournaments. They offer something special to these competitions. The fans are great and they bring a tremendous party atmosphere to these games.

“Gordon knows he must get Scotland back into a major tournament. It won’t be Brazil, but the Euros in France must be the next task. The fact that it goes from 16 to 24 qualifiers means we must have a chance.”

McAllister felt that Craig Levein enjoyed little luck as international manager.

Scotland were left with only two points from a possible 12 after drawing their first two games against Serbia and Macedonia at Hampden and losing in Wales and Belgium.

But McAllister, a former Scotland and Leeds United team-mate of Strachan, said: “You need a bit of good fortune in any job. I was in Cardiff for Craig’s second last game in charge when we lost 2-1. We had a goal disallowed that would have made it 2-0. It was a perfectly good goal, nowhere near offside and the ball didn’t go out of play when the cross was slung in.

“It should have stood. Wales scored two goals in the last nine minutes to nick the result.

“Then we lost in Belgium and that was Craig Levein gone.

“You definitely need a bit of luck and I hope Gordon gets some fortune in the post.”

McAllister also pointed out that Strachan might benefit from his players performing at a high level. He added: “The team that finished in Cardiff had several players from the Premier League such as Steven Fletcher, Gary Caldwell, Shaun Maloney, Charlie Adam, Danny Fox and Jamie Mackie.

“And there was Wolves defender Christophe Berra while, of course, goalkeeper Allan McGregor plays for Besiktas in Turkey and Kenny Miller is with Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS. And Celtic’s Scott Brown and Kris Commons and West Brom’s James Morrison started in Wales. So, the current crop of players are at a good level.

“I believe Gordon was the ideal choice for the job. Not only will he help the national team to reach a major tournament, I think he will work hard at grassroots level, too.”