Alex McLeish is set to learn his fate on Thursday as Scottish Football Association chiefs meet to decide whether to stick with the Scotland boss, Press Association Sport understands.
The manager’s position will be top of the agenda as the governing body gathers for a scheduled board meeting at Hampden.
McLeish’s performance has come under sharp focus following the Scots’ disastrous 3-0 loss to Kazakhstan in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier – a defeat branded by many the worst in the nation’s footballing history.
The former Hibernian, Rangers and Birmingham boss did successfully guide the national team to next year’s Nations League play-offs but pressure has been building ever since the humiliating set-back in Nursultan against a team ranked 117th in the world.
Another thoroughly abject performance from Scotland and unfortunately no signs of improvement. We may well be in the play offs but for me things do not augur well for the future with the current structure in place.— Michael Stewart (@mstewart_23) March 21, 2019
Chief executive Ian Maxwell is due to sit down with SFA president Alan McCrae, vice president Rod Petrie, SPFL chief Neil Doncaster and fellow board members Michael Mulraney, Thomas McKeown and Ana Stewart first thing on Thursday to thrash out a decision on whether to axe the 60-year-old now.
McCrae – who chaired McLeish’s Testimonial Committee during his Aberdeen playing days – and his former Eater Road boss Petrie are likely to back the manager to stay on but the rest will be aware of the anger growing amongst the Tartan Army as they fear another missed opportunity to end Scotland’s long wait to sample a major tournament.
If Scotland cannot fight their way back into contention in Group I, they will be left with a two-game shoot-out through the Nations League play-offs in order to secure a berth at Euro 2020, a tournament that is being partly staged on home soil with four games pencilled in for Hampden.
It was reported that McLeish was set to be axed last month but the SFA has remained quiet on the issue since.
HT San Marino 0 Scotland 1 – a few boos from the visiting fans as the whistle went. Not much to inspire them since McLean’s 4th minute opener pic.twitter.com/zdp8QFTYtI— Gavin McCafferty (@GavinMcCafferty) March 24, 2019
McLeish is currently in his second stint in charge of the national team, having come agonisingly close to reaching Euro 2008 first time round.
He walked away from the job to join Birmingham on the back of a 10-game run that brought seven victories, before defeat to Italy in their final qualifier ended dreams of competing at the finals in Austria and Switzerland.
But his second go at the job has gone nowhere near as smoothly, with just five wins from 12 games, and he faced boos from the disgruntled supporters who travelled to Serravalle to see Scotland labour to a victory over minnows San Marino three days after their shock defeat in Kazakhstan.
Speaking after his side’s nervy 2-0 win over the world’s worst ranked side, McLeish refused to speculate on his future, saying: “I can only worry about what is in my control. I have concerns of whatever, but that’s not one of them. That’s not my decision.”
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