Strachan gets Caldwell backing

  • Last Updated: November 6 2012, 17:34 GMT

Defender Gary Caldwell has backed Gordon Strachan to take over as Scotland manager.

Gordon Strachan: Initial favourite to replace Levein

Craig Levein was sacked as the national team boss on Monday night following a disappointing start to a World Cup qualification campaign that finds Scotland bottom of their group and without a win in four games.

Former Celtic boss Strachan, who was interviewed for the role before Walter Smith took over in January 2005, has emerged as the initial favourite although an appointment could take some time.

While Caldwell admits there are a host of high-profile Scottish managers who could take the reins, the 53-cap international believes his former Hoops boss is best placed to resuscitate Scotland's flagging fortunes.

"I think so, he's a passionate manager and a very passionate Scot," Caldwell told Sky Sports News.

"I had three good years with him at Celtic and he achieved great things there.

"He's been out of management for a while and I'm sure he will be hungry.

"I think the national team job needs a passionate guy. It is not an easy job. I'm sure he is a guy who will come with a real passion and do well for Scotland."

Strachan has not managed since he left Middlesbrough two years ago and was also given the backing of former national boss Alex McLeish on Tuesday, who ruled himself out of the running.

Owen Coyle, Billy Davies and Smith have all been named as possible replacements with Under-21 head coach Billy Stark handed interim charge ahead of next Wednesday's friendly in Luxembourg.

Caldwell remains confident that whoever takes over will inherit a squad capable of reaching Brazil 2014, but admitted his team-mates were just as culpable as Levein for their current position.

"There's so many great Scotland managers," he said.

"Craig Levein was a great manger, but in football it comes down to the players.

"The players have to be responsible for results. So far they have not been good enough and the players have to take the responsibility in the future.

"In the big games we haven't got the results. The Serbia and Wales games could have been wins and instead they were a draw and a defeat.

"We were very close to winning games and haven't got results.

"There is a real desire in the group.

"We just have to turn the draws and the defeats into results. I'm sure whoever takes job will look on it with a real positive mindset and believe they can turn it around."

McLeish, who left the Scotland job to take over at Birmingham, earlier threw his support behind Strachan, telling talkSPORT: "Gordon Strachan is a pretty good candidate to me.

"He's had success at club level with Celtic.

"Whether he wants to come away from the television role he's got - because he's very good on TV - would be a big decision for him to make."

McLeish has been out of management since we was sacked at Aston Villa in the summer but ruled out a return to Scotland's top job.

"I left the national team to take up club football, I felt I was missing the day-to-day stuff," he said.

"I'm still of that mind. I wouldn't like to be unfair to the Scotland fans in terms of coming back to the job.

"A lot of people would maybe think I was a hypocrite."


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