NEIL Lennon believes Scotland are capable of recovering from the disappointing start they have made to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and reaching the finals next summer - if the SFA make Derek McInnes the new manager.

McInnes, who has enjoyed consistent success during the six years he has been in charge of Aberdeen, will be one of the names on a shortlist that Ian Maxwell, the SFA chief executive, will present to his fellow board members next week.

Lennon, who has ruled himself out of the running for the vacancy, believes his Pittodrie counterpart, who has turned down the chance to take over at both Sunderland and Rangers in the last two years, is the perfect man to replace Alex McLeish.

Whoever takes over will have an uphill task ending an agonising wait to reach a major tournament that stretches back to France '98 due to the catastrophic 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan that Scotland crashed to in Nursultan in their opening qualifier back in March.

But the Northern Irishman feels that finishing in the top two in Group I and progressing to the finals automatically would not be beyond an individual he believes deserves to be named Manager of the Year this season with the talent he would have at his disposal.

“Derek's results speak for themselves, his league positions speak for themselves and his consistency in the cups speaks for itself as well,” he said.

“I touched on this after Alex left. The incentive is there for someone to come in and take Scotland to a major championships. They’ve got a great opportunity with the play-offs and they’re still not out of the actual qualifying group if they maybe nick a point here and there against the bigger teams. They’ve got a very good core of players.

“I’ve been saying this for a long time, the players have to be more consistent for the country, I think. Not just play one good game against the big teams then switch off against the lesser teams.

“We’ve seen Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Wales and England all qualify for major tournaments over the last eight to 10 years. There’s no reason to think why Scotland can’t also with the quality of players they’ve got.”

Lennon, who took temporary charge of Celtic in February and is hoping to be appointed manager at Parkhead on a permanent basis for a second time following the Willliam Hill Scottish Cup final later this month, admitted that international management is not something that interests him at this stage in his career. However, he feels with managers like Chris Coleman, Ryan Giggs and Gareth Southgate moving from the club game in recent seasons and enjoying success with their countries it could be something that interests McInnes. He feels having somebody who is in touch with the modern generation of footballer would have benefits for the national team.

“Maybe it is changing a bit in terms of younger guys becoming international managers,” he said. “But it wouldn’t be my cup of tea. I like the day to day stuff. I’ve got too much energy to use up between games, I couldn’t wait three months for the next game. I’d get bored.

“But it’s a job, it’s a real job international football because you’ve so much work to do with the association and developing the grassroots and having an input into that too. If it’s for you then why not? If Derek McInnes or Steve Clarke or Scot Gemmill or Malky Mackay fancy it then I think they’re ready and prime for it.

“I think he (McInnes) is relevant, I think the players would understand him and get him. He’s got a good personality and he’s got a great assistant in Tony Docherty. I think they would get the players and the players would get them.”

McInnes isn't one of the nominees for the GMB Manager of the Year award which will be handed out at the annual PFA Scotland shindig at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow this evening; Dick Campbell of Arbroath, Steve Clarke of Kilmarnock, Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell of Ross County and Jim Goodwin of Alloa have been put forward for that particular gong by their peers.

Yet, for Lennon, who has squared up to his Aberdeen teams with both Celtic and Hibernian this season, he has been the outstanding performer in the dugout in the 2018/19 campaign. He believes his opposite number’s achievements have been taken for granted due to his remarkable longevity.

“It’s a close one, but Derek has got Aberdeen third, they have made a semi-final and they have made a final,” he said. “He has had to rejig his squad more or less every year and they have been very consistent. I will probably go for Derek (as Manager of the Year).

“People take it for granted. But it is a very difficult thing to do. He has got Aberdeen third behind the big two. That is the best they can probably do. He can’t do any more really.

"I think he has been loyal to Aberdeen when big clubs were looking for his services, which didn’t surprise me. That was a big call on his part as well. I think sometimes he gets underappreciated.

“The Scotland job is up for grabs and I think he and Steve (Clarke) will be prime candidates for that. He might not thank me for this, but he is at the right age, tactically he is very astute and he knows how to get the best out of players as well.”