Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scotland Shortlist: My Verdict

This week the SFA will be interviewing their chosen four candidates for the Scotland Manager's job.  I  don't envy their task, as their choice will be not only between these four individuals, but what style of management we'll have for our resurgent team, and how that will shape the development of international football in Scotland.

So what's the verdict so far on the shortlist?

Graeme Souness:
First class pedigree as a player as captain of Liverpool and Scotland, mixed fortunes as a manager. Even Rangers supporters who flocked back to Ibrox during his reign recognise his reliance on the chequebook as a management tool, sometimes with mixed results – e.g. Terry Butcher and Colin West were 2 of his first signings.  Since leaving Glasgow, Souness has failed to reproduce anywhere near the impressive results seen at Rangers at a string of clubs across Europe.  His recent track record as a manager seems to be to confined to leaving the club before too much long-term damage has been done.  

Special powers – the moustache.  Tackling Steaua Bucharest players.

Tommy Burns:
2 words – Berti Voghts.  He was there and is complicit in the failure.  While he redeemed himself slightly under Walter Smith, this proves that he's better as a No. 2 rather than his own man.  As a manager in his own right, winning a single Scottish Cup in three years at Celtic is not a successful record.

Special powers – Ginger, speaks some German.

George Burley:
A solid player with European success, Burly performed managerial miracles at Ipswich in 1999-2001 taking them from the English Championship to Europe. In the space of 10 unbeaten games made Hearts favourites for the Premier League, before leaving in the face of Vladimir Romanov's interference in the team. His fair performance since at Southampton has not been up to his previous standard.  

Special powers – hates Vladimir Romanov.

Mark McGhee:
Played under Ferguson at Aberdeen, successful spells at Celtic and in Germany . Solid record in management, but has not managed a team at the highest level. Even as a Motherwell fan I can't argue that that this has changes this season. What he has a track record in is building up teams with limited resources to achieve relative success. Good with the media, his teams play exciting attacking football.

Special powers – Likeable, plays 3 up front.

I think it's a straight choice between Burley and McGhee, much as it hurts to nominate a manager who may take Motherwell to Europe next year. Both have all the required experience and a good record in management, and would have the support of fans (or at least, neither are hated by one side of teh Old Firm).

We'll know soon enough.