Out of the woods? Not yet.

Domestic football returned to our screens yesterday. Its been all international business since Celtic’s victory over Motherwell following a narrow defeat to Barcelona.

Sadly the international breaks have not had much to offer lately. Thanks to the SFA appointing Craig Levein, Scotland’s a World Cup qualifying campaign ended way back bringing forward preparations for the European Championships!

New Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has injected a little bit of life back into the national team. What his presence will yield only the future knows but I feel he’s the right man for the job for now.

Lets not carried away with the 2-0 home win over Croatia though. Whilst these are encouraging signs, I’d much rather have been watching that victory with the chance of still qualifying for Brazil.

That hope died when Craig Levein was still in charge. His presence in the Scotland national set up was similar to that of a dying swan but without the grace, just the pitty.

How the SFA ever thought Levein would be able inspire a generation of international players is beyond me. He’s not exactly been the most prolific club manager either.

Scotland may not be brimming with stars these days, but when you are managing players from a variety of backgrounds and clubs you need to have the presence and character to get their full attention. As an international coach, you see very little of your squad so on that training ground and when you walk into that dressing room you need to full control of those players.

I’m not suggesting that Levein was not respected by the players, he always comes across as a decent guy. Though when your national team continually sucks you need someone to stoke the coals, not fan the flames.

Strachan was what I would refer to as a national idol, an inspiriational player. Levein on the other hand was not.

Levein saw international duty, but he was no Miller or McLeish. I’ve always felt that for Scotland and their languishing campaigns, you need to be one of those idols and that they possess managerial skills to inspire your countrymen.

Agreeable as it is having Strachan as national coach, I am not getting carried away either. I’m positive he will have players playing with heart again but Scotland aren’t out of the woods yet.

Kevin McKenna’s article in the Observer today suggests Scotland may be on the mend. He writes a good article but lets not get ahead of ourselves here.

McKenna goes on to talk about the failings on the SFA over the decades up to the current day. Nobody knows the failings of the SFA more than a Celtic fan.

We’ve been venting our ‘paranoia’ long before I was born. It still happens today yet nothing ever changes.

Few Scottish journalists have ever challenge the men at Hampden and when they have its been a solo venture. If done on a larger scale, things might improve but as history has shown, and we’ve seen in the present day, its easy to have the Scottish media in your back pocket.

Until that power is rested from the incompetent men at Hampden, the wounds of Scottish football will never heal. At least we have a national coach I can follow again.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie

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