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Bookies tip former boss for shock return after Scotland sack Alex McLeish

Leigh Copson 18 Apr 2019
Alex McLeish (credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images)

Scotland have announced the sacking of Alex McLeish following a miserable start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, and if the bookmakers are right a former national team boss could be in line for a shock return.


McLeish’s appointment 12 months ago was met with a great deal of criticism and despite leading the team to top spot in their UEFA Nations League group the former Aberdeen defender was never really able to win over an increasingly frustrated fanbase.

Those frustrations boiled over as Scotland slumped to a pathetic 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan in their opening 2020 qualifier, and ‘The Tartan Army’ made their feelings clear during the laboured 2-0 win in San Marino as they chanted expletives at the SFA and called for McLeish to be finally put out of his – and their – misery.

They have now got their wish with McLeish’s departure being confirmed on Thursday.

“The decision to part company was not an easy one,” said Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell. “Especially given Alex’s status as a Scotland Hall of Fame member, earning 77 international caps, having played in three World Cups and taken charge of the national team for two spells.

“It was only taken after full consideration by the board and after an honest and respectful conversation between myself and Alex earlier in the week. Ultimately, the performances and results as a whole in the past year – and, in particular, the manner of the defeat in Kazakhstan – did not indicate the progress expected with a squad we believe to be capable of achieving more.

“With that in mind, it was agreed that we would seek to recruit a new management team to take us forward for the remainder of European Qualifying campaign. We firmly believe we have the potential to recover from the opening group defeat and unlock the potential of this exciting squad of players for the remainder of the campaign, safe in the knowledge we also have the play-offs as an additional route to UEFA EURO 2020.”

‘The Tartan Army’ will be delighted to see the back of McLeish, but they will also be nervous about who the Scottish FA will turn to as his successor after the botched an attempt to lure Michael O’Neill away from Northern Ireland before turning to ‘Big Eck’.

There is also the question of who would actually want the job at this time and bookmaker Paddy Power believes Gordon Strachan, who recently lost television work with Sky Sports due to a highly controversial comment, could be tempted to take the reins once again.

The ex-midfielder is the early 3/1 favourite for the role, with ex-Manchester United, Everton and West Ham United chief David Moyes considered a 5/1 contender as he once again finds himself trying to resurrect a managerial career that has faltered badly in recent years.

Highly-rated Kilmarnock chief Steve Clarke is next up at 6/1 ahead of 15/2 Malky Mackay, who currently has a role in the SFA setup, while Aberdeen chief Derek McInnes is 9/1 to make the jump to international management having previously turned down the opportunity to leave the Dons for other clubs on a couple of occasions.

Ex-Scotland boss Craig Levein – the current boss of Hearts – is an 11/1 shot, with Michael O’Neill 14/1 to this time accept the opportunity to leave Northern Ireland for the Scotland post.

Latest Paddy Power Odds


Next Scotland manager: 3/1 Gordon Strachan, 5/1 David Moyes, 6/1 Steve Clarke, 15/2 Malky Mackay, 9/1 Derek McInnes, 11/1 Craig Levein, 14/1 Michael O’Neill, 16/1 Alex Neil, 18/1 Scott Gemmill, 20/1 Neil Lennon, 25/1 James McFadden, 33/1 Ally McCoist, 33/1 Gary McAllister.


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Bookies tip former boss for shock return after Scotland sack Alex McLeish

Scotland have announced the sacking of Alex McLeish following a miserable start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, and if the bookmakers are right a former national team boss could be in line for a shock return.

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