A key part of the former Celtic boss's modus operandi is to appoint a panel of senior players to bounce ideas off, so it was an early blow to his reign this week when the news came through that one man who is clearly officer material, Darren Fletcher, will miss the rest of the season at best after surgery to correct his serious bowel complaint.
The 55-year-old is canny enough to keep the Manchester United player involved despite this setback, and other contenders for a seat on this ad-hoc committee include previous Strachan club regulars Scott Brown, Gary Caldwell, Kenny Miller and Shaun Maloney. "Wherever I've been I've tried to get a group of four experienced footballers and we sit down and I tell them what we're trying to achieve," the new Scotland manager said.
"The players can talk if they want. I'll listen. I don't know who the core will be in this Scotland team. I'll need to see how they work, who has a presence in the dressing room, who the players admire, that kind of thing. I'll watch them for a couple of games and find out who the big personalities are and who I can trust."
Every Scotland manager has his own idiosyncrasies to indulge, his own principles which occasionally have to be cast to the wind in a period of crisis. A time-served club manager, it may take Strachan time to acclimatise to the patterns of international coaching, but a few things are becoming clear.
He will try to avoid "meaningless" friendly matches in favour of get-togethers where players can work on team shape and discuss forthcoming matches. He will also refuse to close the international door on anybody, including Rangers players toiling away in the Irn-Bru Third Division or any new national league.
"I know it is hard [for Rangers players]," he said. "But I'll have a word with every manager who thinks there are players in their team who could be involved even those on the outskirts." A job which Strachan regards as the culmination of his 40 years working in the game will start in a hurry, the manager having little more than a week to collect his thoughts before he decides upon his maiden squad for the friendly against Estonia on February 6.
It won't seem like it at the time, but the fixture at his old stomping ground of Pittodrie falls into the category of the relatively "meaningless" matches he is so keen to avoid, particularly as it falls six days before Celtic's Champions League last-16 tie against Juventus, even if the Parkhead side's first team these days contains only a sprinkling of Scots. For all his reputation as a prickly character, Strachan prides himself on the fact he has only fallen out permanently with two men during his football life, and he has no plans to start making enemies now.
He is likely to select a larger than usual squad for the Estonia match, many of whom won't make it on to the field. "Celtic are our shining light in Europe and it's helping the Scottish game," Strachan said. "We must help them put on a good show against Juventus. But it would be good if as many as possible come for the Estonia game. Even if they are injured, it would good for them to come and see what we're about."
Some things might not be so different under this new regime in any case. Despite initial unhappiness among the SFA kingmakers, Strachan will continue to live in Warwickshire and keep on his work as an analyst for ITV sport, two items which in themselves should not preclude any Scotland manager from doing his work, not least because many of his players feature in the Barclays Premier League.
"There's room for that," said Strachan. "Most managers I have spoken to about this have said they twiddle their thumbs a bit sitting behind a desk. And I can actually go to places with ITV that it would be hard for the SFA to get me into logistically. I can watch all the games coming in at one time on six screens."
Aside from the observation that they are the best Scotland has at the moment, there are different assessments of the quality of player the nation currently has at its disposal. There was a tacit acceptance that a reliable central defence is a problem area which has flummoxed many of his predecessors, and an admission that for all that Scotland has a strong core of Barclays Premier League players, they are missing that special talent capable of elevating the side. "Some international teams aren't packed with stars," he added. "Sweden are ordinary, but they have Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Wales are a decent group of players, but Gareth Bale allows them to win games. We have good players, but at the moment we don't have a special player. But then Celtic don't have one really good world-class player either."
The impressiveness or otherwise of Strachan's curriculum vitae is also contested terrain. Although there were three SPL titles and two Champions League last-16 qualifications with Celtic, his time at Coventry saw the club relegated, and he admits to making mistakes during a period at Middlesbrough which he himself brought to a premature end. "I tried to play the style of football I felt comfortable with," he said. "But after six months I realised the players weren't suited to it, so it was unfair on them. I should have used their assets and what they had at the time and then slowly changed over to what I thought was the right way. But, listen, it's far better you leave somewhere knowing it's no-one else's fault, circumstances and your decisions caused it."
Strachan has already added Mark McGhee as his permanent assistant, and other names such as Gary McAllister and Paul Hartley are doing the rounds in relation to a third member of the coaching staff. But Stewart Regan, the SFA chief executive, has hinted the coaching team may be augmented by particular coaches with a particular skill for matches against particular opponents.
One man who has served both in Strachan's core of senior players and his backroom staff is Neil Lennon. The Celtic manager is an avowed fan and is convinced Strachan has all the qualities required to made a real fist of a job that has become something of a poisoned chalice.
"Gordon will know the personnel very well and with Mark McGhee coming in, there is huge experience in club football there, but Mark has also played abroad. They know each other inside out and I'm sure Mark will test Gordon. He won't always agree with him."
The SFA under Mark Wotte are bringing in a performance culture which tries to establish a 4-3-3 shape as the standard for all Scottish national teams, but Strachan resists this in favour of a pragmatic approach.
"I think what Brendan Rodgers is doing at Liverpool is admirable," Strachan said. "But it took Swansea five years to do that. And you're either Scottish or you're not Scottish. You can't decide to play a certain style and say I'll pick that Peruvian and put a ginger wig on him!" On August 14, his fifth match in charge, Strachan will lead Scotland to Wembley for their first meeting with England since 2000. The fixture rekindles memories of 1977, when Strachan, his wife Lesley, and his best man, marked their marriage rites by strolling on to the hallowed Wembley turf, invited there by a powerless policeman who decided the teenage future Scotland manager might as well join the marauding throng invading the pitch following Scotland's 2-1 win against the Auld Enemy.
"I stood off it – but a policeman invited me on because I seemed to be the only Scotsman who wasn't on the pitch!" That match is officially down as a friendly, but Strachan knows only too well the result that day could either prolong his next honeymoon period or bring it to a sobering end.
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