CRAIG Levein has finally paid the price for Scotland's dismal start to their World Cup qualifying campaign after being sacked as national team manager.

The former Dundee United and Hearts manager will continue to receive his wages after the Scottish Football Association agreed to honour the remaining 20 months of his contract, worth an estimated £700,000.

The SFA said Levein "had been relieved of his duties" four days after the seven-man board first met to discuss his position. Scotland Under-21 head coach Billy Stark was handed temporary charge of the team for next Wednesday's friendly in Luxembourg.

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SFA chief executive Stewart Regan defended the time taken to make the decision, which comes 20 days after defeat to Belgium left Scotland bottom of Group A.