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Next Scotland manager betting odds: Alex McLeish 6/4 favourite after Walter Smith rules out return

Leigh Copson 9 Feb 2018
Alex McLeish (credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Alex McLeish is the bookmakers’ favourite to become the next manager after another SFA target, Walter Smith, ruled himself out of the running.

The Scottish Football Association had set their sights on Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill after parting company with Gordon Strachan, but a long pursuit ended in disappointment as he opted to remain in his current position and sign a contract extension.

That sent the SFA back to the drawing board and reports this week claimed they were now planning to turn their attention to the experienced Smith, who quit as Scotland boss to return to Rangers back in 2007.

However, BBC Sport claim the 69-year-old has ruled himself out of the running after holding talks with Scottish football’s governing body, resulting in him plummeting to 14/1 in the BetVictor betting, and that means another ex-Scotland chief, Alex McLeish, is now heading the market for Strachan’s successor.

McLeish replaced Smith as manager of the national team back in 2007 and went agonisingly close to leading them to a major international tournament. His time in the role proved to be brief though, as he left that year to take charge of Birmingham City, but at 6/4 he is BetVictor’s leading contender to land the role before Scotland begin their UEFA Nations League campaign later this year.

Current interim boss Malky Mackay is the 4/1 second favourite ahead of Preston North End manager Alex Neil at 6/1, but 8/1 third favourite Steve Clarke is believed the be the popular choice among the ‘Tartan Army’ at this time.

Clarke has masterminded a fantastic turnaround at Rugby Park that has seen Kilmarnock surge off the foot of the table and into the top six, and they recently recorded the biggest victory of his reign so far as they became only the second Scottish club to beat Celtic in the past two seasons. This excellent run has earned the 54-year-old plenty of plaudits – but could it earn him the Scotland job?

Scotland Under-21 boss Scott Gemmill joins Clarke on 8/1, with former Wigan Athletic and Chesterfield manager Gary Caldwell – who was capped 55 times by the national team – the only other man shorter that 20s after the 16/1 outsider recently revealed he had applied for the job.

“If I didn't believe I could make an impact then I wouldn't put myself forward,” he told BBC Scotland. “I don't think that having vast experience is going to give you that much of a difference.
International football in the past used to be that somebody had a career and it was one of their later jobs. Nowadays, it's a job for younger people. A new, fresher approach is going to give you more benefit.”


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Next Scotland manager betting odds: Alex McLeish 6/4 favourite after Walter Smith rules out return

Alex McLeish is the bookmakers’ favourite to become the next manager after another SFA target, Walter Smith, ruled himself out of the running.

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