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Stark remains coy about wanting top job

BILLY Stark hasn't and won't formally apply for the Scotland manager's job, but he does expect to sit down with SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and president Campbell Ogilvie in the next few weeks to find out if his services are required for the national team's next match against Estonia in February.

Regan praised the interim manager for his handling of the 2-1 victory against Luxembourg last week but so far discussions with the SFA hierarchy about the vacancy have been informal. Scotland's under-21 side, who went down narrowly in Portugal in midweek, are also inactive until a friendly against Greece in February, but Stark expects some clarity as to which team he will be in charge of sooner rather than later.

"Stewart Regan, Campbell Ogilvie and I had a couple of conversations over there, but they were pretty much to talk about what's gone on and informal," Stark said. "I haven't indicated to them any formal desire to be considered for the job. There are plenty of good candidates out there; one minute you read in the paper they want the job and the next they say they would prefer a club job.

"But I don't need to let that influence my thinking. I am happy to proceed on the basis that I am in interim charge at the moment. People are asking me if I'll formally apply, but I think I don't need to. I am the under-21 coach and that's a job I really enjoy so any thinking comes on the back of that. I am not a guy who is out of work, who is desperate for a job.

"What I'd be saying to Stewart is I'm delighted with what you've said about the way I've done the job in the last week. I'm proud and honoured and I'm happy to take your guidance as we go through the coming months. It makes sense for them to take time but I'm guessing they'll want someone in place by the next game."

In a match marked by numerous call-offs, Stark was surprised by the amount of time taken up by phone calls but he experienced nothing to put him off the job.

He was irritated by some of the coverage his victory received, mainly for dropping their level against a Luxembourg side who are ranked 144th in the world, but he said: "That's maybe something in the Scottish psyche but it does annoy you a bit."

The former St Johnstone, Morton and Queen's Park manager has a good working knowledge of the likes of Steven Naismith, Jordan Rhodes and Charlie Mulgrew from his time in charge of the under-21s, and for all his reticence to put himself forward for the national team job, he is not blind to the logic of the appointment.

After all, Craig Brown and Andy Roxburgh, the last two Scotland managers to take Scotland to a major finals, were promoted internally at the association.

Stark said: "Craig and Andy have the same number of caps as me. In fact, Andy took a squad to Luxembourg for a European Championship qualifier, drew 0-0 and still went on to success. I don't remember it but I bet the reaction at the time was Armageddon."

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