Weir: Levein should not be sacked

  • Last Updated: October 21 2012, 15:52 BST

Former Scotland defender David Weir has rejected the idea that drastic change is needed at senior and youth level to end the national team's long wait for qualification for a major tournament.

Craig Levein: Has come under pressure as Scotland boss

Weir forms a link between the last Scotland side to appear on the world stage and the current team having been a member of the 1998 World Cup squad and played under Craig Levein.

Now retired, Weir does not think there is anything to be gained by changing the manager despite qualification for Brazil 2014 looking a near impossible task after defeats by Wales and Belgium left Scotland with two points from four games.

"We should expect better results but there is such a fine line between winning and losing," said Weir, who was back in Glasgow to hand out prizes at the Bank of Scotland Midnight League Player of the Year day.

"There is no better example than the Wales game. We were winning 1-0, relatively comfortable, scored another great goal and the game was probably finished. The goal gets disallowed and Wales go up the other end and score and we end up losing the game. "To qualify you need everything to conspire for you."

The Scottish Football Association decision-makers are due to discuss the poor start to the 2014 qualification campaign in the week after this one.

With a record of three wins in 12 competitive matches, most fans appear to want Levein out to give the team a shake-up and a new manager time to settle in before the Euro 2016 campaign.

Weir said: "It is difficult but the players obviously do believe in the manager and believe what he's preaching to him and his structure, and that goes a long way. Things have conspired against us, we have probably not had the rub of the green.

"Ultimately everyone knows you are judged on results. But I don't think you can question the detail the manager has gone into and the atmosphere he has created, and he has got the best players there.

"It's very difficult to qualify but he seems to have got the players behind him and is doing the best job he can."

Debate over the double defeat has also focused on youth football with SFA performance director Mark Wotte warning his changes will take four to six years to come to fruition while blaming some of Scottish football's ills on diet and lifestyle choices, specifically burgers and fortified wine.

Weir moved to the USA to stop his career ending before it began, with a football scholarship paving the way for a long career with Falkirk, Hearts, Everton and Rangers and he admits he would not have achieved this if he had stayed in Scotland.

"I definitely wouldn't have done," he said. "I know that for a fact. Mine was obviously a very different pathway from the majority of pathways and I wouldn't change it for the world.

"It was unconventional in the respect I went to America when I was 17/18 because I wasn't perceived to be good enough at the time. I went away and probably grew up and learnt a lot, and came back and had to start at the bottom of the ladder again.

"It worked out well for me, it probably wouldn't work for everyone. Everybody has got a different pathway and it's important kids realise that.

"It's not just about being the best player at nine, 10, 11 or 14 and 15. It's about developing as a person and a player."

Weir now works in the coaching department at Everton having finished his career at Rangers helping the young players through and he believes the system has improved markedly since his teenage days.

"When I was growing up in youth football, it was jumpers on the grass and go and play," he said. "There is definitely more organisation and thought being pout into it.

"Time will tell whether it's successful but I don't think you could criticise anyone for lack of effort or lack of time spent thinking what the best way forward is."

And he feels blaming Scotland's diet and drink culture for the declining football success is too simplistic.

"You don't want to create robots and people who have no personalities, and are just channelled through one particular area and haven't got a little bit of an edge or something special about them," Weir said. "Obviously the burgers and the Buckfast aren't the way forward but I don't think it's quite as black and white. You can't change a nation's culture overnight either.

"There are things being put in place and I think we are better educated in that respect now. Society in general realises that diet and a healthy lifestyle helps produce better football players and healthy lives in general, but it has taken time to sink in."


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