JOE Jordan insists he has lost no sleep over missing out on becoming Scotland manager as he is too preoccupied with the battle to keep Queen’s Park Rangers in the English Premier League.
The Tartan Army icon was one of the bookies’ favourites for the Scotland job following Craig Levein’s sacking at the start of November and made no secret of his ambition to take charge of his country’s national team. But, despite having his cause widely championed, most notably by Graeme Souness who said his former World Cup team-mate “ticked every box” necessary to lead Scotland to better times, Jordan was overlooked by the SFA.
While he renewed his relationship with Harry Redknapp at QPR as first-team coach, Scotland eventually turned to Gordon Strachan who was appointed in January.
Jordan, back in Glasgow yesterday to promote ESPN’s forthcoming live coverage of domestic and international matches, is philosophical about not even receiving an initial call from the SFA.
“Maybe it would have been worse if they had called [and I didn’t get the job],” he shrugged. “I’m not really upset about it. I’ve been in football too long for that.
“It wasn’t something that was constantly on my mind. What was constantly in my mind was trying to get off the bottom of the Premier League and that is the honest truth.
“I go to bed and wake up in the morning thinking of QPR and the problems we have. I got the job in November with Harry when we were bottom of the league and hadn’t won a game.
“We are still bottom of the league but we are now making progress. In those three months, I haven’t given [the Scotland job] a thought.
“I can’t influence what happened in any way. So what’s the point of thinking about it any more? You are employed by people and have enough on your plate.
“I want to be successful and success for me now is staying in the Premier League with QPR. It never crossed my mind [Scotland] because I can’t do anything about it. You can’t wait three months, sitting round waiting to see what is going to happen. I got on with my life.”
Now 61, the opportunity to manage Scotland may now have eluded Jordan for good. But it is clear the man who scored for Scotland in three consecutive World Cup Finals tournaments still regards himself as meeting the necessary criteria to fill the role at some stage.
“I am not on the board making that decision,” he added, “but if I was looking for a manager for a national team, then I would pick someone with experience. Don’t pick a young guy for that job.
“Let them have their career, not make too many mistakes, but learn from the mistakes they do make and the success that they have. Later on, with the knowledge and experience they have, they can put it back into the national game through being a manager.
“It’s a very difficult job to manage Scotland, but it is still a fantastic job. No question. To be a manager representing your country in that role is fantastic.
“Look at so many different countries now and the way they appoint experienced men. It’s no coincidence. For me, they should also come from the country they are managing. It has to be a guy from that nation.”
Jordan is optimistic Strachan can achieve his first competitive win as Scotland manager at home to Wales on 22 March, but expects the trip to take on Serbia in Novi Sad four days later to be a more daunting assignment in the World Cup qualifying group.
“Scotland playing at Hampden against Wales are favourites at any time,” he said. “Scotland can give anyone a game at Hampden.
“But the Serbia game is always going to be very difficult. The Serbians have a young team but they have a few games under their belt now and are more experienced at this level.
“They have some excellent players. Three of the back four are playing at the highest level in the English Premier League – Branislav Ivanovic at Chelsea and both Aleksandar Kolarov and Matija Nastasic at Manchester City. That’s not bad, is it?
“Since the break-up of Yugoslavia, who were an outstanding side in my playing days, the smaller countries have flourished and this looks like a really good Serbian team.”