Craig Levein says Scotland need to get behind Alex McLeish’s national team in the same way England have backed Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions if they want to fulfil the country’s potential.
Levein knows from experience how much strain McLeish will have been operating under since being reappointed to the top job following his own three-year stint in the Hampden hot seat.
The Hearts manager faced down hostile headlines and angry jeers from supporters as he failed to lead the Scots to Euro 2012 before being axed as the Scots’ qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup fell apart.
But he believes there is now hope for McLeish after the current incumbent guided his side through to the Nations League play-offs.
However, he insists McLeish will only get the best out of his players if the entire country rallies round.
“I look on enviously with what England are doing right now,” he said. “They have got everybody pulling in the right direction and I include the media in that as well.
“When we can get to that stage in Scotland then I think we’ve got a great chance of improving.
“But it needs everybody working together.”
Scotland overcame Albania and Israel last week to top their Nations League section and grasp the chance of a wild card route to Euro 2020.
Celtic hitman James Forrest provided McLeish’s side with the spark they were searching for as he smashed a brace against the Albanians before beating Andy Herzog’s Israelis with a stunning Hampden hat-trick.
It was Levein who gave Forrest his Scotland debut against the Republic of Ireland in May, 2011, but he reserved most of his delight for Scotland’s under-pressure boss.
He said: “James is a fantastic football player. Wingers are notoriously up and down, and confidence is a huge thing. Celtic started the season slowly but when they did start to kick on, he was somebody who was really on fire.
“A fully-fit James Forrest is somebody who I think is a huge asset for Scotland.
“I’m delighted for him but I’m actually thrilled to bits for Alex. I know how difficult it is.
“Sometimes things can work against you and make it difficult to do that job.
“I’m just chuffed to bits that he has managed to get two fantastic results, played well in both games and it would be great if everybody could get behind him and the team and see if we can kick on from here.”