National coach decision

SFA issues verdict on Strachan’s future

gordon-strachan-vidGordon Strachan will stay on as Scotland head coach through the current World Cup qualifying campaign – and may already be preparing for the 2020 European Nations tournament.

Assistant coach Mark McGhee has hinted that the pair are keen to remain in charge to lead Scotland into the next but one competition.

The SFA issued a statement giving its unanimous backing to Strachan despite the disappointing start to the World Cup campaign which has seen Scotland virtually ruled out of making it to Russia in 2018.

“The board are convinced that he still has the hunger for this challenge and we have four home qualifiers in 2017 to rejuvenate our campaign,” said the statement.

“We support Gordon unanimously in improving our qualification prospects.”

Defeats to Slovakia and England have left the Scots in fifth place, with only four points from their opening four games.

There had been speculation in the fevered sports pages that David Moyes, Paul Lambert or Alex McLeish were being lined up to replace the 59-year-old.

Strachan said: “We were all extremely disappointed with the result on Friday night [the defeat to England].

“But, having reflected on our performance, I still believe we can get ourselves back into contention in the group.

“There are still 18 points to play for and the players, the staff and I, as in previous games, will give everything we have to turn things around.

“I have said consistently that our fans deserve success and a return to a major tournament finals.

“Although we have had a difficult start to the campaign, I firmly believe that this group of players, together with our supporters, can maximise our chances of a play-off place, starting with the home match against Slovenia in March.”

> FIFA has opened disciplinary cases against England and Scotland after their players wore armbands with poppy emblems.

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