Alan Pattullo: Sacking Alex McLeish now would seem callous

Scotland manager Alex McLeish. Picture: SNS
Scotland manager Alex McLeish. Picture: SNS
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The Scottish FA is in a bind. Likely to be at least considering ending Alex McLeish’s troubled spell as Scotland manager, they have reached the point where to do so will seem particularly and unnecessarily callous.

It is now more than a week since that calamity in Kazakhstan. Few of the utterances from Hampden in the days since the beleaguered squad returned from an underwhelming win in San Marino four days later have served to alter the impression McLeish is on shaky ground.

There has been no firm denial of a newspaper report claiming McLeish would be removed from the firing line at the start of next week. But we’re now entering drawn-out territory.

Perhaps those at the top of the SFA have other concerns. Rival candidates have until tomorrow to lodge an intention to stand against Rod Petrie, who will otherwise enjoy a right of accession to the role of president. He is due to begin his term of office in June, shortly after Scotland’s next double-header against Cyprus and Belgium.

As for this weekend, McLeish is planning to do what a Scotland manager is meant to do and attend games with an eye towards picking a squad for these fixtures. It is an unsettling time for him particularly given the fact his health has now become a matter of national debate. Sometimes it seems impossible for the SFA to find new ways to botch things. But they do, they always do.