Strachan named Scotland boss
Gordon Strachan spoke of a 40-year football journey ending in pride on Tuesday when he was named the new Scotland manager.
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The former Coventry, Southampton, Celtic and Middlesbrough boss was confirmed in the post by the Scottish Football Association before a lunchtime press conference at Hampden.
Strachan started his career as a teenager at Dundee and a long and illustrious playing career which followed at Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds United and Coventry City earned him 50 caps for Scotland.
The 55-year-old has been out of management since leaving Boro in October 2010 but he realised a long-held dream when made boss of his national side on a contract that will take him through to the 2016 European Championship qualifiers.
"I am very proud of myself but my family, my wife, mother, grand children, children and my friends are very proud so it shows you how important the Scotland job is," he said.
"It is probably 40 years in the making to get here.
"It is a job that I wanted to do and for a Scotsman, this is a fantastic thing.
"When I was a kid I wanted to play for Scotland and I did that.
"Then I started coaching and I thought 'I want to be the Scotland manager some day' so I have achieved that with the help of a lot of people and players.
"It is going to be difficult, every job is difficult. The Coventry job is difficult, Southampton, Middlesbrough, they are all difficult.
"You don't get an easy one but you can still enjoy it. But the idea is to make people happy and win games of football."
Strachan was interviewed for the job in 2004 following the dismissal of Berti Vogts but lost out to rival candidate Walter Smith.
However, he insists that disappointment turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
"When I look back on it, I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me," he said.
"I went on progress and do other things. All the experiences I have had as a manager have prepared me for this time.
"I think this is the best time for me. I still felt at that time that working with players and developing players full time was my best (attribute) but if you are asked to come to an interview with Scotland you don't turn it down.
"But it was the best thing that happened, I could go away and learn my job and continue to improve players and squads.
"Every club you go to there is always challenges but this is the first time the challenge is on behalf of the nation.
"But the rewards to that are that if you can be successful you can make a nation happy and proud. That is the factor for me and I will try and do that, with the help from other people."
What cannot be disguised, however, is the task that awaits the man from Edinburgh who will take charge of his first match against Estonia in a friendly at Pittodrie on February 6.
Scotland then face Wales and Serbia in a World Cup 2014 qualification double-header in March.
Hopes of qualifying for the Brazil, though, are all but over after taking just two points from their first four Group A games under former boss Craig Levein, who was sacked in November.
However, Strachan, who will be based in England, refused to throw in the towel, saying: "We will give it a go, that's all you can do."
He also rebuffed the suggestion that the post was a poisoned chalice: "I think it is a great job. There will be rough times and good times, hopefully there will be more good times than bad."
Strachan admits, however, that he is looking forward to the time when the national team were being talked about more than the Tartan Army.
Asked about realistic aims, he replied: "To progress with this squad. I really want the squad and staff to give something back to the country because the fans are probably more famous than the squad now.
"The fans are famed all over the world. What we want to try to do is give something back to the fans and have them turn up to a major finals.
"I have been there through my television work to these competitions and the Irish have kind of stepped in for us for a while so we hopefully the Irish and Scots can get together at one major finals - it will be one helluva party.
"If we work together as a group and a set of fans, I know for a fact that it works, you can be successful."
Strachan pointed to the two times that he guided Celtic to the last-16 of the Champions League, and Neil Lennon's similar feat with the Parkhead club this season, as evidence that success can be achieved with what is perceived to be inferior resources.
He said: "It shows you can go up against individually better players at huge clubs and you can beat them with a group that all wants to all go in the right direction and with a style that suits them.
"I think Celtic have already shown that this season, they have played a different system from Barcelona and got a result because they have played to their strengths, and they did the same against Spartak Moscow.
"So I go back to it, we have to find the right system that suits the squad."
Gordon Strachan Factfile
1957: Born February 9, Edinburgh.
1974: Signs for Dundee. Plays 60 league matches, scoring 13 goals.
1977: Joins Aberdeen for £50,000. Plays 187 matches, scoring 55 times.
1980: Wins Scottish league championship medal and first of 50 Scotland caps against Northern Ireland. Named Scottish Footballer of the Year.
1982: Collects Scottish Cup winners' medal.
1983: Achieves second Scottish Cup success, followed by European Cup Winners' Cup medal.
1984: Wins Scottish league and cup double. Manchester United sign him for £500,000 in August. Stays at Old Trafford for five years, playing 160 league matches and scoring 33 goals.
1985: Only trophy success with United, taking FA Cup.
1989: Joins Second Division Leeds in March for £300,000.
1990: Captains club to Second Division title.
1991: Named Football Writers' Association Player of the Year.
1992: Leads Howard Wilkinson's side to a first league championship in 18 years. Wins final international cap against Finland.
1993: Awarded OBE.
1994: Plays last match for Leeds, a 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool on December 31.
1995: Announces his retirement from Premier League football in January, but continues to play regularly for Leeds' reserve team. Two months later joins Ron Atkinson at Coventry as assistant.
1996: Takes over as Coventry manager as Atkinson stepped down.
1997: Coventry survive relegation on the final day of the Premier League season with victory at Tottenham.
2001: May - Coventry lose at Aston Villa and relinquish their Premier League status after 34 consecutive years in the top flight.
September 8 - City lose 1-0 at home to Grimsby, sparking chants of "Strachan out". A handful of fans have to be restrained by police as they attempt to confront the manager.
September 10 - Strachan leaves Coventry by mutual consent.
October 22 - Appointed Southampton boss.
2003: May 17 - Southampton lose 1-0 to Arsenal in the FA Cup final but qualify for Europe for the first time in 19 years.
October 15 - A 1-0 defeat in Romania against Steaua Bucharest, following a 1-1 home draw, sees Saints crash out of Europe at the first hurdle.
2004: January 9 - Confirms he will not to extend his contract with Southampton beyond the end of the season for personal reasons.
February 13 - Steps down as Southampton manager.
September 9 - Rules himself out of contention to manage Scotland.
December 19 - Turns down the opportunity to become boss of Portsmouth.
2005: May 25 - Named Celtic manager on a 12-month rolling contract.
July 27 - Celtic thumped 5-0 by Artmedia Bratislava in Strachan's first match in charge to crash out of the Champions League at the qualifying stage.
December 15: Signs Roy Keane after release by Manchester United.
2006: March 19 - Lifts first trophy as Celtic manager with victory over Dunfermline in the Scottish League Cup final.
April 5 - Celtic clinch Scottish Premier League title with victory over Hearts.
November 11 - Leads Celtic into Champions League knockout stages for the first time after 1-0 victory over Manchester United.
2007: March 7 - Celtic knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by AC Milan.
April 22 - Celtic clinch SPL title with a 2-1 win at Kilmarnock. Strachan is named Manager of the Year.
May 2 - Named Manager of the Year by the Scottish Football Writers' Association.
May 26 - Celtic win Scottish Cup, beating Dunfermline 1-0.
October 3 - Celtic snatch a last-gasp 2-1 win over European champions AC Milan at Parkhead.
November 28 - Celtic reach knockout stage of Champions League despite losing final group game in Milan.
2008: February 20 - Celtic go out of Champions League to Barcelona.
May 22 - Strachan becomes only the third Celtic manager to win a hat-trick of Scottish championships.
November 25 - Celtic suffer shock 2-1 defeat at Aalborg to crash out of the Champions League and Europe altogether.
December 13 - Strachan has dressing-room bust-up with midfielder Aiden McGeady after 1-1 SPL draw with Hearts. McGeady is fined two weeks' wages and suspended for two matches.
2009: March 7 - Celtic suffer surprise 1-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final defeat at St Mirren.
March 15 - Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 at Hampden in the first Old Firm cup final for six years to lift the Scottish League Cup.
May 3 - Strachan named SPFA Manager of the Year.
May 24 - Celtic are held 0-0 by Hearts as Rangers win the SPL title by four points on the final day of the season. Celtic had been eight points clear earlier in the year. He resigned a day later.
October 26 - Signed a four-year deal to manage Middlesbrough.
2010: October 18 - Voluntarily tears up his contract and resigns after a run of poor form.
2013: January 15 - Appointed manager of the Scotland national team.