Blog: Gordon Strachan and his lack of hotline bling

There was more than a hint of irony in Gordon Strachan’s well-circulated comments to Jonathan Sutherland, coming in the same week as the Scotland manager sharing his experience in handling the media to some of the likeable Sportscene presenter’s colleagues.

It was ridiculous for Jonathan to request Strachan’s permission to ask a few questions on behalf of the public, wasn’t it? It’s not a hotline after all.

Once again the Scotland manager has occupied the headlines this past week for all the wrong reasons, highlighting his increasingly divisive nature both in and out of the dugout.

Thirty-odd-thousand supporters turned up to back their team following Strachan’s dismissive and utterly disrespectful comments during the week and they were treated to a laboured display of tactical naivety.

Strachan once again showed unfounded loyalty to individuals such as Chris Martin and managed to somehow set up a relatively capable group of individuals in a manner that was turgid and lacking in penetration.

At the end of the evening, the statistics showed that the home side had 62% possession but throughout the 90 minutes the team lacked ideas, innovation and incision.

Robert Snodgrass, a potential talisman, appeared restricted and frustrated. Oliver Burke, the country’s exciting young prospect, could not impact proceedings, while Barry Bannan looked overwhelmingly average in a distributional sense.

Meanwhile, the defensive woes continued at the other end. Lithuania were organised but when they broke forward, all it took was a simple one and two-touch style of football and Scotland were carved open with ease.

The outcome of a draw was much more than we deserved and I eagerly awaited Strachan’s post-match conference, knowing that the increasingly maligned figure would probably try to pull the wool over the supporters’ eyes once again.

Some of the comments verged on the ridiculous. Apparently the second-half display was the “best we had played for a long time” and “it was a good point in the end.”

The embarrassing rhetoric didn’t stop there, however. He then said that “to drag ourselves back from the body blow of the goal was terrific.”

Terrific? The opposition, while well-drilled and aggressive in their style, are ranked 117 in the world.

He then commented on individuals that were deservedly in the firing line for criticism. Strachan’s stubborn selection and dumbfounding defence of players like Martin and Bannan beggars belief.

Unless of course, the hotline supporters are all wrong in their assessment that Martin was not in fact ‘outstanding’ and Bannan not ‘terrific.’

Strachan hasn’t achieved anything remotely noteworthy in the sport for a long time. It is evident that his selection process and tactics are both arrogant and dated.

Scotland now face a situation in which their qualifying campaign is in proverbial tatters, just 180 minutes into the group.

The manager insisted earlier on in the week that his role must always be to protect his players. Strachan’s role is to pick the best eleven and educate and motivate them. He has shown time and time again that this is a responsibility which he is not capable of fulfilling.

He has a duty to the fan base to, first and foremost, recognise their contribution and secondly produce a team that can accept and learn from their criticism.

The SFA will undoubtedly trust Strachan to continue in his post but the growing consensus is that they would be well-served looking to another manager that has an understanding of the privilege involved in leading the national team.

Perhaps that person could be an individual that selects the strongest squad and rewards players for good form. He might even be willing to answer some of the support’s questions. At the moment it sounds a complete luxury but it’s the least the Tartan Army deserve.



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