IN ruling himself out of becoming Scotland manager, Graeme Souness only enhanced the idea that he would be a pretty good fit for the job.
He has lived in England for a while now but was back on home soil over the weekend to welcome the latest inductees to the Scottish Football Museum's Hall of Fame.
It soon becomes apparent he has lost none of the pride or passion he brought to each of his 54 appearances for the national team, while his football brain is just as switched on as it was during a stellar playing career. At 59, he would be the ideal age for international management and he looks well on it. But it's just not for him. He was overlooked in favour of George Burley and subsequently decided he no longer had any desire to go back into the dug-out.
Even though the Scotland job is vacant once more, it seems this laddie's not for turning. "It's not for me any more, I've got a wonderful life with what I do now," he said in reference to his media work. "I only have to worry about whether I've got enough make-up on for the cameras. I don't see myself going back any time soon. Johnny Giles said to me after I got sacked at Newcastle that for two years I would be hankering to get back and after that it goes. That's what happened.
"Every job for two years, I was wondering if I should put myself in the frame. But after two years it goes. When I started at Rangers 25 years or so ago, it was old school. You could go in and vent your feelings. Now it's a very different game. Today you are the boss in name only. I don't think I'm best suited for it. The successful ones like Sir Alex [Ferguson] have evolved, to his great credit."
Souness, then, has kept his hand in as a much sought-after and shrewd television pundit. It allows him to keep abreast of the fluctuating fortunes of different teams, players and managers, while also giving him a platform from which to air his considered views. Opinionated without being arrogant, his is a voice usually worth listening to. When he puts forward Joe Jordan as the man he believes should be Craig Levein's successor, it seems only natural to ask him to expand on his thinking. What follows is a glowing commendation of his one-time Scotland team-mate.
"He's a solid citizen, been in and around the highest level of the game all his working life, and the timing would be perfect for him," said Souness. "He has picked up a great deal of knowledge along the way, both in his time as a manager and working with other people. And he's current; he knows what's out there. That's important.
"I think the supporters would relate to him because he's extremely passionate about the job. The vast majority may be too young to remember him as a player but he was your warrior, your perfect No. 9. Nobody enjoyed playing against him and he wore his heart on his sleeve. He's got real credibility and that would count among the players. Nobody can say to him, 'well, you've not done it'. Because he's done it more than once. He's the kind of guy who gets immediate respect in a dressing room. He's got presence, he's calm, he is extremely passionate about the game, about Scotland, and I think he ticks all the boxes. There isn't a better candidate right now."
To say things have changed somewhat on the international front since Souness was in his pomp would be something of an understatement. From reaching the World Cup finals five times in a row – "We qualified regularly and England didn't. The shoe was on the other foot and we could take the piss. And we did" – Scotland have slumped so far in recent years that they are now propping up their qualifying section with thoughts of reaching Brazil in two years' time long since gone.
It would be only natural if such a scenario put off some prospective Scotland managers but Souness doesn't believe that would be the case. "For people who want to be involved in management, Scottish people especially, it is attractive," he insisted. "We have a great tradition here. Any manager taking the job knows that, if you get a couple of good results, Hampden is going to be full every time you play.
"We have a really passionate support and that is attractive to anyone in football, because you want to work with people who are passionate. A couple of results and it will be a very different atmosphere for home games here, with the stadium full, everyone looking forward to it, and the team playing with a bit of belief."