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Once the must-have accessory, the Scottish manager is now terribly out of fashion

NO more than two seasons ago, the Barclays Premier League was very much in thrall to its own particular collection of Glasgow Boys.

Like anything built largely upon the whims of a progressively more eccentric collection of overseas multi-millionaires, though, that particular arena, as thrilling as it may remain, has become a place of fads and passing trends.

Football, rather like art, is now a playground in which the current flavour of the month can suddenly become as relevant as yesterday's chewing gum. That would certainly appear to be the fate that has now befallen that once-prized, much-vaunted movement of Scottish managerialism.

Almost no club worth its salt was without a tinge of tartan in the technical area at the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign. Back then, football's glitziest league and most exceptional revenue-generating machine had no less than seven men from north of the border in charge of its teams.

The fact all of them were born within an approximate 15-mile radius of Glasgow made the statistic even more remarkable. Since those halcyon days, though, Kenny Dalglish, Steve Kean, Owen Coyle and Alex McLeish have all bitten the dust with Sir Alex Ferguson now more interested in the transfer value of a bottle of 1961 Petrus than any amount of promising left-wingers from Scandinavia.

The likes of Steve Clarke and Malky Mackay, of course, have passed through the Premier League in the interim. Clarke was sacked as manager of West Bromwich Albion earlier this term, while Mackay, in the shape of Cardiff City's Vincent Tan, came up against the kind of foreign owner whose idea of club management was just that little bit different from the committee members he grew up with as a kid at Queen's Park.

David Moyes and Paul Lambert, for the moment, are the last men standing. Moyes' neck is primed for the gallows at Manchester United, though, and it is beginning to look, whether through American chairman Randy Lerner wielding the axe or selling the club in the summer, as though Lambert is facing one almighty battle to stay in McLeish's old job at Aston Villa.

There is no question Moyes faced an onerous task in taking over a squad that surely no-one other than Ferguson could have driven to a title.

He is not out of the door at Old Trafford quite yet, but the sound of the trumpets have reached deafening levels and they are playing the Funeral March.

Lambert's situation appears a little less cut-and-dried. He saw his trusted allies Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa suspended last week over allegations that coaching methods had led to friction with a number of players, a move seen to make the peg holding his manager's jacket shooglier than ever.

Talk of Lerner selling out to another American billionaire, identity as yet unknown, just makes his future look even less promising and the attacks on his record are coming from all angles.

"Paul is running out of excuses for me," said the former Aston Villa and Scotland striker Andy Gray on Talksport radio station yesterday.

"They [Villa] are no better off than the day they decided to sack Alex McLeish. I don't know what kind of progress Villa think they've made in the last couple of years, but on the pitch they've made none."

Lambert finds himself flapping around in the dark for answers when confronted with the possibility of takeover negotiations putting him out of a job. "If a new guy comes in and doesn't like you . . . it's not something I've ever thought about; I just want this club to stay in this league," he said. "As for the takeover reports, I haven't seen them."

Stock market confidence, buyouts, shareholder unrest. All these things can play a part in a coach finding himself on the receiving end of a P45. Ultimately, though, results, more often than not, remain the defining factor.

Are we witnessing the end of the Scottish manager in the rarefied atmosphere of the Premier League?

Time will tell, but Moyes' troubles look likely to blow away the myth that Manchester United will support a new manager in the same way they did during those difficult first few years of Ferguson's reign.

The environment is different, the expectations are different, but so, too, are the pay-offs. That is why we should not shed too many tears in marking their downfall.

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