Gordon Strachan has left his role as Scotland manager with immediate effect after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the Scottish FA has announced.
Scotland had the chance to secure a play-off place in the final round of Qualifiers but a 2-2 draw in Slovenia, coupled with a 3-0 win for Slovakia over Malta, ensured Strachan’s side would finish third in Group F.
A statement on the Scottish FA’s website confirmed Strachan’s departure, along with his assistant coach Mark McGhee.
The statement read: “The Board of the Scottish FA and Gordon Strachan have agreed that the Scotland National Team will be led by a new head coach in preparation for the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.
“Gordon’s tenure will end with immediate effect along with that of his assistant coach, Mark McGhee. We are grateful to Gordon for the passion, professionalism and commitment demonstrated since his appointment in January 2013.
“While the nation’s collective disappointment at not qualifying for the play-offs for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is understandable, it was nevertheless a mark of Gordon’s capabilities – and the squad’s belief in the coaching team – that we recovered from a poor first half of the campaign to get back into contention for a play-off place.
“Notwithstanding our unbeaten run in the group throughout 2017, with the emergence of a younger generation of players it was agreed that a new national coach should be recruited to provide fresh impetus.”
Strachan thanked both his players and the Scottish fans for their support throughout his four-year tenure in charge of the national side.
“I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again,” said Strachan, in a statement released on the Scottish FA’s website.
“I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention.
“The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player who has come in to represent their country.
“Together we have shared some really magical moments and those memories will live with me forever.
“Of course, what made those moments special was the unwavering support of our fans. Through highs and lows you have stayed with the team and my biggest regret is not being able to provide the finals tournament you deserve.
“I would like to thank the Board, the backroom staff and everyone at the Scottish FA for the help and support they have given me as national coach. It has been a real privilege.”
Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan thanked Strachan for his efforts as manager.
“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Gordon for his excellent service to the national team,” said Regan.
“I know how disappointed he was that we couldn’t secure a play-off place but to come so close was a tribute to the belief he instilled in his squad.
“After almost five years the Board felt it was time for a new direction to prepare for the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying campaign and also the forthcoming UEFA Nations League.
“We are grateful to both Gordon and Mark for their efforts and wish them the best of luck in the future.”
(c) Sky News 2017: Gordon Strachan leaves role as Scotland manager with immediate effect