Writer: Arab Jacques
Date:Friday February 16 2007
Some managers get fed-up with the relentless speculation linking them with other clubs and vacant managerial positions, but Dundee United manager Craig Levein has admitted he was happy to be named as one of the candidates for the Scotland job.
Before Alex McLeish's appointment as the new Scotland boss, there had been several names linked with the job over the previous weeks - including Jim Jeffries, Gary McAllister and Levein himself.
However, Levein believes that the SFA made the right choice by appointing McLeish as Walter Smith's successor, because his experience will be a huge asset to the International job.
"I was absolutely flattered to be linked with the Scotland manager's job, but I finally believe we have got the right man for the position and Alex McLeish," admitted Levein in his weekly column for the Daily Record.
"It's the job every Scottish manager must aspire to have one day and it was a great honour to even be linked with it when the discussions were taking place over who would succeed Walter Smith."
"So why does Alex fit the bill so perfectly? Well, he's got vast experience of dealing with big name players at club level for a start."
"He also knows the Scotland players inside out and just as important is the fact he's gathered great European experience from his forays with Rangers."
"Competing on the European stage domestically is akin to international football so we've got a boss who's well-versed in dealing with those demands."
"Big Eck has always struck me as someone very comfortable dealing with the pressures of the media, which is a big plus with all the attention that comes with the Scotland managers job."
Levein is also impressed with McLeish's appointments of Andy Watson and Roy Aitken to the Scotland coaching set-up, because he thinks they also have the kind of experience which will be hugely beneficial to the Scotland players.
"He couldn't have chosen two better guys than Andy Watson and Roy Aitken to accompany him and give him all the backup he needs," said Levein.
"I'm a big fan of Roy too. As a player for both club and country, Aitken was as competitive and wholehearted a guy as you would ever meet and we had the fair few tussles."
"When I was at Leicester I actually dealt with Roy on a number of occasions. He was different class, a really nice guy, whom I find extremely helpful."
"As for Andy, we go back a long way to the days when we played together at Tynecastle. Andy has shown himself to be very successful working with Alex on a regular basis and will be relishing this opportunity to renew their partnership."
"He is a lovely guy, but he is also one of those who get the upmost respect from his players."
Now Levein believes it is time for all Scotland fans to get behind McLeish ahead of the crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers next month.
"Now the circus is over let's get on with the real business of the Euro 2008 qualifiers, which start again in march," continued Levein.
"I'm really optimistic about the future and hopefully the Scotland fans are too."
Date:Friday February 16 2007
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