STUART McCALL last night admitted he was "stunned but proud" to become a part of the new Scotland management team.
The Motherwell manager will take up the part-time role of assistant coach, working alongside Gordon Strachan and Mark McGhee. Strachan had been widely expected to appoint a younger coach to be his No. 3 but instead plumped for the greater experience of 48-year-old McCall who has led Motherwell to the Scottish Cup final and the Champions League qualifiers during his time in charge at Fir Park.
McCall, capped 40 times for Scotland, was taken aback to by the invitation but had little hesitation in accepting. "It came totally out the blue, I was stunned but so proud," he said. "I then spoke to Motherwell and they were just as pleased for me and it snowballed from there. I haven't got a clue what they saw in me but I'm obviously based up here and apparently I ticked a few boxes. It's a great honour to be involved with the national set-up – especially without me really knowing Gordon. It makes me proud."
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McCall effectively replaces Kenny Black, his assistant at Motherwell who was part of Craig Levein's team.
"I've said it before I was envious when Kenny came away with Scotland," McCall said. "It gave me two days with the Motherwell players, but now these roles are reversed. He's delighted for me."
McCall joins Scotland with their chances of reaching the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 all but gone. But the former midfielder, who memorably scored against Sweden at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, was not entirely without hope.
"It would be nice for everybody to build a bit of momentum," he added. "I don't think it can be done right away, but a couple of results and things might look a bit rosier. There's no reason in the back to back games we have to play [again Wales and Serbia], we are not being over-ambitious in saying we can go and win the next two games in the group. I know it's a big if, but if we did the table would look a bit different and it might give a little of bit of optimism.
"We know it is going to be tough in Croatia and Serbia but the proof is there. It can be done. It is not outwith the realms of possibility. For a lot of people, it might seem unlikely but belief is a lot in football and I'm sure Gordon will bring that to the group."
Strachan felt McCall's knowledge of the Scottish league scene would be a huge asset. "In many ways Stuart typified the classic Scotland international player; he was passionate and combative but also hugely influential and inspirational," he said. "He has done a tremendous job at Motherwell and his knowledge of the game, and especially of the Scottish scene, will be invaluable."