Andy Walker and Charlie Nicholas reckon Gordon Strachan can end Scotland's malaise
Last Updated: January 15, 2013 5:38pm
Andy Walker believes Gordon Strachan is the right man to get Scotland back on track.
The former Celtic chief was named as his nation's manager on Tuesday, penning a three-and-a-half year deal to replace Craig Levein, who was axed in November with Scotland flailing at the bottom of their World Cup qualifying group.
"The squad will respect what Gordon achieved as a player; he was one of Scotland's better players in an era when we had so many quality ones."
And Sky Sports pundit Walker reckons the 55-year-old can use his past successes in the dugout and his standing within the game to galvanise his new charges and pick up results.
"Scotland have been synonymous with defeat for too long and our World Cup campaign has got off to dreadful start," Walker, who earned three caps for Scotland between 1988-94, told Sky Sports News HD.
"So we are hoping that Gordon, who will be welcomed by most people in Scotland because he is spiky and abrasive, can start winning games when it matters and get our credibility back - and I think he can deliver.
"Gordon has had success in Scotland with Celtic - winning the title three times and getting the club through to the knockout stages when they were downsizing - and he has managed in the English Premier League (with Coventry and Southampton).
"A lot of our players have Champions League experience, are playing in the English Premier League or in big games in the SPL. They will respect what Gordon has achieved as a manager, not to mention what he achieved as a player, winning 50 caps for Scotland and being one of our better players in an era when we had so many quality ones."
Walker says Scotland, who lie eight points behind Group A frontrunners Belgium and Croatia, having amassed two points from their initial four matches, have no chance of reaching next year's showpiece in Brazil.
But the ex-Celtic and Motherwell striker says Strachan, who will oversee a friendly with Estonia in February before leading his squad into a World Cup qualifying double header with Wales and Serbia the following month, must get his side firing during their remaining competitive clashes.
"We need to get some respectability back into our qualifying campaign as no-one thought we would be bottom of the table, so hopefully Gordon can hit the ground running and lift our status so that we don't finish last and see our seeding fall," added Walker.
"Brazil is gone but we need to focus on the European Championships, where more teams will be able to qualify than ever before, as what Scotland fans crave most of all is getting to a major finals again and showing how they can bring life and colour to it."
Former Scotland forward Charlie Nicholas was pleased to see Strachan handed the Hampden Park reins and feels there will be plenty of entertainment with the erstwhile Aberdeen and Manchester United midfielder in charge.
The Soccer Saturday pundit expects Strachan to adopt an attacking brand of football, while he also gave his backing to Gary McAllister, who could form part of Scotland's new-look backroom staff.
"It will be feisty; Gordon will come in and be witty and dangerous, not just with the media but the public as well," said Nicholas. "He will fall out with the fans at different times.
"But it will be interesting to hear his point of view, his vision and see how he wants to play, which at Celtic, Coventry, Middlesbrough and Southampton was predominantly attacking.
"I hope we see that with Scotland, as we have a good choice of player but have stayed too rigid in formation before. I understand that you have to be hard to beat, but we have done that before and not qualified for international competitions.
"We will take defeat and bad performances, but if we can see a bit of progression then we will go along with it because at the moment Scotland fans are turning up expecting defeat.
"However, I am genuinely excited; I'm not saying Gordon will get us to the top level of football because that will take a long, long time, but I think a double act with McAllister would be a very good balance."