Gordon Strachan '˜too excited' to think about his future

Gordon Strachan has admitted he is uncertain of his future as Scotland manager, irrespective of the outcome of the final two 2018 World Cup Group F qualifiers next month.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan announces his squad. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan announces his squad. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Strachan’s contract will expire at the end of the campaign in which Scotland almost certainly require maximum points from the games against Slovakia at Hampden on 5 October and Slovenia in Ljubljana three days later to claim second spot in the group and a place in the 
play-offs.

The 60-year-old, who took charge in January 2013, agreed to stay on for the World Cup qualifiers after initially considering his future in the wake of failure to reach the 2016 European Championship finals.

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After a poor start to the current campaign, Strachan’s squad have won three and drawn one of their last four qualifiers to revive the nation’s hopes of reaching a major tournament finals for the first time since 1998.

Asked if he felt he could still commit himself to another
campaign, regardless of whether Scotland qualify for next year’s finals in Russia, Strachan did not rule out the possibility of wishing to remain at the helm for the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “It all depends on a lot of things. But I’d rather give that a body swerve just now, so I can really enjoy what’s coming up next. It’s going to be just a fantastic occasion against Slovakia at Hampden.

“It’s one of those where you go ‘right, I’m looking forward to that’. The excitement has started already.

“No, I can’t look beyond this game. I’ve never planned anything in my life, but I’m not daft. The excitement of where we are and what we’ve done to drag ourselves back into contention in this campaign has encompassed any other worries I’ve got.”

Strachan, who yesterday included uncapped Leeds United central defender Liam Cooper in a 26-man squad for next month’s double-header, says reaching the chance to lead his country to the World Cup finals is as thrilling a 
prospect as he can recall from his illustrious career.

“It goes back a long time,” he added. “You can’t pigeonhole what is excitement. There have been far more stressful moments, that’s for sure. I have been in far worse positions and so have the squad.

“So excuse us if we are enjoying it at the moment. I do dream about it. But I also have that Caddyshack thing, with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. I’ve always been a bit like that. I try to keep a balance to it.

“When I first set out in 
this job, I said in my first interview what a fantastic
thing it would be to 
make five million people happy.

“We’ve done it on many occasions, but we’ve also made quite a lot of them unhappy at times. It’s not for the want of trying.

“It’s different from a club side, where the supporters decide who they support. With your country, you 
support your country. To be able to take them, the players, the staff and all the rest to the finals would be just fantastic. But no-one’s daft, you know how hard this is going to be. The two hurdles left in this group are very hard.”

Strachan, however, has complete faith in the ability of his squad to handle the pressure and expectancy they will encounter in the next two games.

“I can pick players and sleep easily the night before the game, knowing they’re not going to let us down, mentally,” he said. “The only real problem as a manager is if there are one or two you don’t really trust, but you have to pick them. We’re not like that at all. We’ve got a squad I know as well as a club manager would know his players. I know who can deal with it and I trust every one of them.”