Alex McLeish will aim to keep “on top” of the World Cup finals by working as a pundit for BeIN SPORTS in Qatar.
Despite neither of Scotland’s Nation League qualifying group rivals Israel and Albania having qualified for Russia, McLeish is conscious of up-coming friendlies against Belgium and Portugal and also Euro 2020 qualifiers next year. Both Belgium and Portugal, Scotland’s opponents in the Autumn, are competing in the World Cup and McLeish will keep tabs on them, and others, from a studio in the Middle East as he bids to keep at the cutting edge of systems and tactics.
“I will be working for beIN Sports [formerly Al Jazeera] for the World Cup doing studio work for them over in Qatar,” said the Scotland manager.
“It is a tournament I need to be on top of in my position as Scotland manager and for me this should be the ideal way to do it.
“You are talking about watching the best players in the world but also the systems they are used in and how teams cope against different tactics they come up against.
“These could be the same sides we find ourselves up against in the Euro 2020 qualifiers so it should be a very valuable exercise. It means I have a busy summer all in all but that is fine. It comes with the territory and is a part of the job and one I am relishing.”
The manager has also paid tribute to the Scotland Under-21s side, who have won two games out of three at the Toulon tournament. Oliver Burke scored another impressive goal yesterday in the 2-1 over South Korea in Fos-Sur-Mer.
“The big fella is lightning,” he said. “He has maybe lost a wee bit of direction over the last year or two but I would love to have an athlete like that in my team providing that he can tick all the boxes.”
He also praised 16-year-olds Billy Gilmour, who scored Scotland’s opener yesterday, and Hearts defender Chris Hamilton, who came on at half-time versus South Korea for his third appearance of the tournament.
“I thought it was tremendous to see the two 16-year-old boys involved,” he said. “Scot Gemmill has said they both stood up to the challenge and I would completely agree.
“The challenge now is to ensure we continue to develop them, and all the other talented kids we have coming up, in a way that gets them through to the A squad one day.”