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Strachan's assistants 'will all have to be Scots'

GORDON Strachan will appoint an all-Scottish backroom team as he attempts to win the remaining World Cup qualifiers and launch a successful assault on Euro 2016.

'Once I was offered this job, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.' Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS
'Once I was offered this job, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.' Picture: Jeff Holmes/SNS

The new national manager wants to have an assistant and also a young first-team coach – both Scottish and working part-time – as well as additional input from Scotland under-21 coach Billy Stark and SFA national performance director Mark Wotte.

Strachan will continue to live in Warwickshire having been given permission by the SFA to commute for inter-national duties.

Garry Pendrey has been Strachan's usual choice of assistant but he won't be joining him at the SFA. Two of his friends and former team-mates, Mark McGhee and Gary McAllister, are candidates, although Strachan declined to identify his choice when he was unveiled as the new national manager at Hampden yesterday.

Strachan signed a contract to the end of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign – essentially a two-and-a-half year deal – and the 55-year-old said it felt like the ideal job at this stage of his life and career.

"This job might not have any value to someone who's just coming into the game as a manager but for me it's right," said the former Celtic manager who was interviewed for the Scotland job in 2004 but missed out when the SFA went for Walter Smith. "I could have done other things in the last two-and-a-half years [since leaving Middlesbrough] but it would just have been for the money. Once I was offered this job, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it."

Strachan has three weeks to assemble his backroom staff before his first game in charge, against Estonia in a friendly at Pittodrie on February 6. He said he had identified his preferred assistant.

"He's Scottish," he said. "They'll all have to be Scots. I've spoken to one person at the moment. I'm also hopeful of bringing in somebody who's a bit younger and trying to progress through his coaching, if I can do it. He'll join with me and the other assistant and make it a three-man group. They wouldn't be full-time, they'd only be coming along on a match-to-match basis. Then there'll be Billy and Mark."

Although Strachan said "we'll give it a go", Scotland's World Cup campaign seems a lost cause. The team is bottom of Group A and eight points off the pace after four winless games but the remaining six ties are significant because they will affect the seedings for the Euro 2016 qualifying draw in March next year.

"The first objective is to win," he said. "You have to win. You have to get the best system that suits our best players, and pick that system. It might not be beautiful football but we all want to win. Liverpool like to pass the ball, Stoke City have a way of playing . . . Alex Ferguson's way is just about winning.

"I just have to get a system that suits the players we have. It might be hard to do something like that against Estonia because we all know there are going to be a few call-offs.

"There is nothing wrong with their attitude. People say 'they're not the best bunch of players Scotland's ever had', but they're the best we have at this time. These guys have had to work through schoolboy, youth, reserves to get where they are. That's a heck of an achievement to do that."

STRACHAN 'It's too good not to take it' n REGAN 'He made himself the No.1 choice' n Pages 2-5

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