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Manager urged to stay on

Strachan hints at final whistle on Scotland job

Gordon StrachanGordon Strachan appeared to give what some regarded as a valedictory message following Scotland’s 6-0 victory over Gibraltar last night.

He declined afterwards to answer questions on his future as Scotland manager for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign but some interpreted his comments as a hint that he was ready to pass on the baton.

Speaking in Faro after the final, but meaningless, Euro 2016 qualifier, he said: “I am so proud to be the Scotland manager. It’s a great job,” he said.

“There are disappointments along the way, that’s for sure, but it has been a fantastic experience.”

Scotland finished fourth in Group D, three points behind the Republic of Ireland, who will lost in Poland but go into the play-off over two legs for a place in France.

Strachan, 58, led Scotland to eight victories, eight defeats and five draws.

The campaign got off to a good start and promised qualification to a major tournament for the first time since 1998. But defeat away to Georgia proved to be the Scots’ undoing. Last week’s last minute Polish equaliser ended hope of grabbing third spot in the group.

In reaching his decision Strachan is expected to take account of reaction to his tenure and to the response of the players.

Striker Steven Fletcher paid tribute to the manager for rebuilding his international career – and added his voice to those urging him to sign a new deal.

“It would obviously be hard to see him go now. But as you can see by the performance we put in, we won’t make it straight forward for him (to leave),” he said.

“The fans were singing his name in the first minute and the players feel exactly the same. Hopefully the fans will sway him. But he is a strong man and he has to make a decision. He knows how we feel.”

The Sunderland striker scored his second consecutive hat-trick against Gibraltar, taking his haul to four international goals in two games after his goal against Poland last Thursday.

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