YESTERDAY was a difficult day for Scotland fans. After watching the national team slump to a 3-0 defeat in the opening game of the Euro 2020 qualifiers, some have started to ask whether or not Alex McLeish is the right man for the job.

You can read what each of our writers think about McLeish's spell in charge, and whether or not he is the man for the job.


READ MORE: Alex McLeish refuses to be drawn on his future - and insists Scotland can bounce back

Neil Cameron

ALEX McLeish is not without blame but he doesn’t deserve this.

A Scotland football legend, and a decent person, he was always the wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time. And everyone knew it.

Even those players he could rely on to turn up and play when not fit felt that other candidates, Michael O’Neill, Steven Clarke and, yes, Walter Smith, would have been better.

Sadly, those at the top of the SFA could give the Parliament a run for their money in terms of how to make a mess of things, and they have done so again.

Not only that, but they have put a good man in a bad position.

This isn’t some journalist protecting a pal, far from it, because when Gordon Strachan left, Big Eck was not on my radar. Was he on anyone’s part from that of Rod Petrie and Alan MacRae?

The national team needed something different. Instead we got a former manager with Peter Grant – how does he keep getting jobs – and James McFadden whose coaching career was a few months in total as a stand-in No2 at Motherwell.

No matter what happens in San Marino, a change must be made. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.

There are a lot of games yet to played in the group and a play-off as well, so there is enough time for the team to at least give themselves a chance.

They won’t do that with the current set-up. That’s been clear for a long time.

Derek McInnes or Steve Clarke would be my preferred option. If not them then David Moyes is out of a job and I am sure there are forward-thinking younger coaches from abroad who would fancy leading Scotland, a proud football nation if not a particularly good one at the moment when it comes to international football.

No matter what, McLeish and his backroom team have to go after Sunday. I would rather people remember one of our greatest players as a wonderful centre-back, a World Cup star, someone who never let us down, instead of a man trying to convince himself that “we started well” after losing a goal after a couple of minutes.


READ MORE: Scotland skipper Callum McGregor on his post-match touchline spat with James McFadden

Stewart Fisher

ALEX McLeish is a great big guy and has achieved some remarkable results as a football manager - I've just never been convinced he was the right man to lead Scotland forward at this juncture. The SFA board, divided or not, thought differently after Gordon Strachan's time came to an end and Michael O'Neill decided he wanted to stay with Northern Ireland.

While I would have given the gig to Steve Clarke there and then, McLeish was the man appointed and deserved the chance to prove people wrong - something which he did at points during a Nations League campaign which saw us squeak past Albania and Israel to book a Uefa 2020 play-off semi-final (at the moment against Finland) come March 2020. 

He has gone from hero to zero this morning, though. And while that play-off place in the back pocket will maybe be enough to buy him some more time, there is something drastically wrong if alarm bells must be ringing loud and clear within Scottish football's corridor of power at Hampden Park. 

Forget finishing ahead of Belgium or Russia in this qualifying campaign proper, results like Kazakhstan do little to suggest we  can look ahead to those Nations League play-offs with confidence. The amount of call-offs can hardly be said to McLeish's fault but it does emphasise the morass of vested interests and different priorities which the Scotland manager has to contend with. 

The SFA in general has to raise its game, modernise and drive higher standards to ensure the national team's relevance in this era where clubs so often come first. I hope I am proved wrong, but I remain unconvinced that big Alex is the right man to shoulder this mammoth task.


READ MORE: Watch: Matthew Lindsay gives his take on Scotland's 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan

Graeme McGarry

FROM the very first day that Alex McLeish was appointed, he was already swimming against a tide of public opinion that had him labelled as yesterday’s man.

After missing out on Michael O’Neill, the SFA turned to a man who had been a success in his previous short tenure in charge of the national side, but after sacking Gordon Strachan, the appointment lacked any sort of ingenuity and reeked of desperation from an organisation who had been snubbed by their number one target.

None of that is McLeish’s fault, but the only way he was ever going to alter the feelings of fans was to win enough matches to show that he was the man to take a group of young and talented players forward.

Unfortunately, despite topping their UEFA Nations League group, the signs of progress from this Scotland team are thin on the ground. The defeat in Kazakhstan eclipsed the dreadful defeat to Israel in Haifa, but not by much.

Certain players have let their manager down. The less culpable are those who have performed poorly, given they have at least turned up, but there are others who have left McLeish in the lurch when he has needed them most.

Sadly, the number of call-offs for each match in McLeish’s second reign could be taken as a sign that the players aren’t fully buying into what he is trying to do, and after such a humiliating defeat, it is hard to see a road back for the Scotland boss.

Even a convincing win against San Marino may not be enough to see him limp on, and anything but that could and should see his second stint as manager of the national team last a similar amount of time as his first, but for very different reasons.


READ MORE: Graeme Shinnie: Blame me for sorry Kazakhstan debacle – I won’t get back in the Scotland team

James Cairney

BEFORE yesterday's game, it was difficult to level too much criticism towards McLeish. After all, Scotland won the Nations League group - albeit by the skin of our teeth, but a win is a win - and the squad has been transformed. McLeish hasn't been shy about blooding young players, something that could not be said of his predecessor.

There isn't much more McLeish could have done. But that was before yesterday.

The Kazakhstan game will go down as one of the worst results in Scotland's history, and that's saying something. To say we were insipid would be an understatement; barring a couple of half-chances that fell to James Forrest and Stuart Armstrong, we created nothing going forward and looked very dodgy at the back.

Personally, I think McLeish has to go. This wasn't like the Israel game, or Georgia, or Macedonia. They were all games decided by a small margin where we didn;t turn up for whatever reason. I can live with that.

But getting played off the park by a team 117th in the world? It's unacceptable. The manner of the defeat is what concerns me the most, and I'm worried that McLeish has been left behind tactically by modern football.

This campaign can still be salvaged but I have no faith that McLeish is the right man to do it. It's difficult to say who should be in the frame to replace him, should Scotland need a new manager, but I would put all my eggs in Steve Clarke's basket. Whatever it takes, I would love to see him in charge of the national team. Clarke is an expert at making a team more than the sum of their parts and is the perfect candidate in my view.


READ MORE: Five things we learned from Scotland's abject display in Kazakhstan

Matthew Lindsay

I THINK Alex McLeish is a man well and truly under pressure now. There were calls for McLeish to go in October after Scotland performed very badly against Israel in Haifa and were lucky to only lose 2-1. He turned things around in the Nations League, but I think all the good work from those games has been reversed with this result and absolutely appalling performance.

San Marino will be pretty straightforward - I hope it will be - but the games against Cyprus at Hampden in June and then Belgium away are very important for McLeish. There's a sizeable portion of the Tartan Army that are not happy with what they're seeing and if they don't beat Cyprus the clamour for McLeish to go will be huge.

Belgium away will obviously be vey difficult, but McLeish will have to avoid a heavy defeat in that one as well. If there's a humiliation there then regardless of the Cyprus result, the scrutiny of McLeish will increase.

McLeish has done it before. Nobody gave us any hope after the Israel game over there and there were calls for a new man to be brought in, and he turned it around. The national team produced two fantastic performances away to Albania and home to Israel, so he can bounce back from this.