Glenn Gibbons: Constraints on Scotland coach

Gordon Strachan’s open-mindedness is as predictable as it is admirable, since he is wise enough not to make the kind of wholesale changes to the Scotland squad that could immediately alienate a raft of players on whom he may have to rely some time in the future.

Even so, the new Scotland manager’s problems are laid bare by his very first selection, for the friendly against Estonia. Any manager inheriting resources as generally mediocre as Strachan’s would be confronted with the most difficult assignment in the game; namely, to improve players en masse.

It is a formidable enough challenge for a club manager with daily, season-long access to the wildly varying capabilities and personalities of around 30 excitable young athletes. For a national team coach, a fleeting skirmish with his group every few months renders the task almost unreasonable.