Former Scotland international Charlie Nicholas believes manager Gordon Strachan has “run out of ideas” and may have taken the national team as far as he can.
The Scotland head coach is under pressure after last night’s loss to Slovakia. The 3-0 defeat, the country’s worst in a competitive match for seven years, combined with the 1-1 draw with Lithuania, leaves the Tartan Army in fourth place in the World Cup qualifying group.
After the latest disappointment, Strachan evaded questions about his future in the role, instead choosing to praise the application of his players.
Nicholas interprets the comments as Strachan struggling to find answers as he looks to arrest the team’s slide and get them back on track for Russia 2018 qualification.
He told Sky Sports News: “I don’t understand where Gordon was coming from last night, that he couldn’t ask more of them. What? He couldn’t ask his players to get on the ball more and make better passes? He couldn’t ask them to be more creative?
“There’s nothing wrong with saying all these players are giving him every ounce, but that comes across to me as a coach that’s ran out of ideas. He praises them for not getting paid and for working hard, it’s the least you can ask of them.
“Shaun Maloney, he’s someone who was quite important in the last campaign, and I know he’s not playing regularly at Hull, but he [Strachan] takes away the creatively [by not picking him]. He played a counter-attack game last night and we had no pace in the team. We had no pace defensively and we had no pace going forward, so it didn’t add up.
“Listening to Gordon last night, it sounds as if he doesn’t know any more. What he’s saying, as it comes across to me, is that he’s tried everything, and the players have tried everything, and this is the best we’ll get. I can’t accept that. There has to be more.
“Northern Ireland and Wales, they pick a shape and a team that suits their players, and we must do that. But he chops and changes it. We haven’t made any progress. We’ve hit that lull again where we’re all moaning. And the worst thing for us Scots is that we’re going to Wembley next.”