Levein: Age not an issue in Walter Smith's suitability for Scotland

Craig Levein believes Walter Smith is the right man to lead Scotland into the next major qualifying campaign and has dismissed the suggestion that the 69-year-old is too old for the role.

Walter Smith will turn 70 later this month. Picture: John Devlin

“I don’t even know how old he is. But I’m sure there will have been international managers of that age or older. International football is slightly different,” said Levein, who managed the national side for three years, until 2012. “It is not a taxing job, not physically, not like club football. The pressures only come along every so often, in short bursts.”

With men like Alex Ferguson, Bobby Robson, Guus Hiddink, Harry Redknapp and Arsene Wenger all managing at the highest levels of club football at a similar age, Levein says it is folly for the sport to write people off based on age

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“I even have a bugbear about referees having to retire at 45 or whatever it is,” he added. “I think that they come into their prime and get calmer as they get older. They have seen it all before and they recognise situations and make less mistakes. Give me a 48-year-old referee who is mentally in his prime against a 29-year-old guy who can run about a lot. Experience, I think, is much undervalued.”

Having taken a sabbatical from the dugout himself, 
Levein dismissed the notion that Smith’s time out the game would be a hindrance.

“Look, I don’t want to get too involved in the whole [Scotland] saga other than to say that I have a huge amount of respect for Walter as a manager and as a person. I think he would do a fantastic job and I actually hope that he does get offered the job.”