With Gordon Strachan having left the Scotland job following their failure to reach the World Cup next summer, the hunt is now on for his replacement. Unfortunately for the Tartan Army, the list of names for the role is not one that will excite them.
As international football jobs go, the Scotland one is very much low tier at this moment in time. Long gone are the glory days and with it, the chance to attract football’s top managers.
So who from the current list of candidates would be the ideal hire?
Gordon Strachan leaves the Scotland manager's job.,
'On my way, lads.' pic.twitter.com/8QWOobcM4u
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) October 12, 2017
Unsurprisingly at the top of the favourite list sits David Moyes, a man whose career has seemingly been careering towards the Scotland job since the minute he left Everton. Moyes has a lot of experience to his name and has worked with teams that have to scrap for their points for the vast majority of his career.
At Everton, he turned them from such a side into one that became regular top-six challengers. If he could revive that magic, he could turn Scotland around in a similar manner.
The problem is, his Everton days are long gone and things have not gone well since. Manchester United was a disaster, Real Sociedad a failure and Sunderland just abject. Scotland, a team that is already on the low, don’t need him piling his misery on top of theirs.
Up next is Malky Mackay, although he’s been awarded interim charge, the Scotsman is just like Moyes; his best days are long in the past. He was once a top manager in the making but an awful spell at Wigan, coupled with scandals off the pitch, has ruined that. Scotland would be wise to leave him in his current performance director role.
That brings us to another Scotsman, Paul Lambert. Again similar to Moyes and Mackay, he is another manager whose potential is yet to materialise into ability.
His last two jobs, Wolves and Blackburn, were rescue jobs and while he succeeded, he is not the man to transform this Scotland team.
3 defeats in 19 games for Northern Ireland under Michael O'Neill. 2 of those were against Germany.
— TheSPFLRadar (@TheSPFLRadar) October 8, 2017
One who is, though, is Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill. Since taking over the Green and White Army he has transformed them into a genuinely good international team. They qualified for Euro 2016 and performed well while there, and have now qualified for the World Cup playoffs. Both of these things were achieved with a limited squad in a difficult group, something that makes him an ideal fit for the Scotland job.
They arguably have a better pool of players to pick from than Northern Ireland and it is easy to see O’Neill taking the current crop much farther than they have any right to go. The fact he lives in Edinburgh is just a bonus.
The same can be said for the next man in line, Sam Allardyce. He has long proven his quality, turning numerous strugglers into Premier League mainstays and it is something he could comfortably do with Scotland. Their squad may not be the greatest but Allardyce has the potential to turn them into competitors once more.
He has also made it abundantly clear he wants an international job after the furore with England. The Scotland job would provide him with the perfect opportunity to show the Three Lions what they could have had and prove to the rest of football just how good a boss he is. A motivated Allardyce would be a major boost to the Scotland team.
David Moyes linked with the Scotland job. I'd absolutely hate to be Scottish.
— Gerry Johnston (@gjsportsblog) October 12, 2017
Whoever takes the Scotland job on has a big task on their hands, of that there is no denying.
The role will require a man who is able to take middling teams and transform them into something better. David Moyes, Malky Mackay and Paul Lambert are not those men at this moment in time.
If Scotland do want to change, they have to set their sights higher. Michael O’Neill and Sam Allardyce are the perfect candidates. Whether they could get them is another matter entirely.