Last Friday night saw England take on Scotland at Wembley as the Battle Of Britain undertook another skirmish, and once again it didn’t make good viewing for fans north of the border, with England running out 3-0 winners.
Scotland will no doubt look to the missed opportunities they had to level the game when only a goal behind, but will they also have to prepare for life without Gordon Strachan?
With his side now fifth in the group and six points off of the top, they can only hope for a play-off spot if they are to qualify for their first international tournament in 20 years. But it doesn’t look like Strachan will be the man to get them to that stage.
Although that would have probably been the expectation when the draw was made, the task has now been made a lot tougher. It once again looks like the qualifying process is a write off with the focus now set on EURO 2020.
If Strachan does depart, as expected, then you do have to wonder what a new manager can do. There doesn’t seem to be any young talent coming through or you could argue that perhaps the current man in charge refuses to look to youth. But one thing you can’t argue with is that this already ageing squad is obviously not going to get any younger.
The question that will be asked by Strachan, and others for that matter, is could anyone else do better with the talent at their disposal? The answer to that is probably no, but that said it seems as if the former Leeds and Manchester United midfielder’s heart isn’t in the job anymore.
You almost got the feeling that, regardless of the result against England, this was always going to be his last game in charge of the Scottish national side. Had they won then the Scottish FA would have had to work hard to convince him to stay, but now it seems almost apparent that the two parties will be ready to split on amicable terms.
Scotland were always going to give it their all on Friday but the one thing that this much-changed side from the one that lost 3-0 to Slovakia in October was lacking was quality. Effort and work-rate can only get you so far at this level, looking at that line-up there was never any player who was going to be able to produce a moment of genius.
Eight changes were made from that defeat to Slovakia and when calling Scott Brown back to the international fold is your trump card to face England it highlights how bare the cupboard is in terms of players that can be called upon to represent the Scottish national side.
With no game until March, they have plenty of time to find a successor if and when Strachan does depart, but whoever does move into the Hampden hot seat is going to be hamstrung by just the same problem as his predecessor.
It once again looks like bleak times for Scotland fans as they prepare to miss out on another major tournament. The only saving grace may be that if a new man does come in then he can use the remaining World Cup qualifiers to blood youngsters to have a proper tilt at qualifying for the next European Championship.
But this is a trend that always seems to happen for Scotland. Planning for tomorrow, but tomorrow never seems to come.
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