This is all a bit ironic, considering that this site was flooded this time last year with people spitting blood about Strachan, and going on about all the brilliant youngsters we had waiting on the wings to take us to glory. McLeish has done exactly that, removing all the "deadwood" and after a few bad results he seems to be deadwood himself.
The reality is that the standard of our domestic league over the last 5 years is poorer than its been in living memory, and the standard of the national team is really no different.
However, I think domestic football has the potential right now to improve with Hearts, Hibs and Rangers all at least starting to get their act together. We still have a long way to go though, and the financial structures of modern football are designed to hurt countries like ours. The only thing that's going to improve the Scotland team in the long term is for a couple of superstars (starting for Champions league last 16 level) to emerge. If that happens, they bring the rest of the team along with them.
We haven't had that (or a decent striker that wants to play for us) for over 20 years now. Those are the reasons we haven't qualified.
This isn't an attempt to admonish Strachan or McLeish. I would have sacked Strachan for his comment about genetics, and I think we'd be best shot of McLeish tomorrow to be honest.
The other missing piece is an energetic and honest manager who is truly driven to make a difference. Our next appointment should be someone young and hungry. Someone who is willing to spend every minute of the week scouting the opposition, planning tactics and plotting what we need from every game (and every friendly arrangement) to advantage us the most. Someone who's willing to admit when a performance doesn't meet expectations as well, and demands better of the players in the future rather than looking to downplay expectations.
At the moment, I think the Scotland job is seen as a semi-retirement position for legends that have seen better days and come with massive egos where they can't admit their own mistakes. He also needs to be someone that understands his role in terms of getting all the players on-side. McLeish just said he hadn't spoken to Darren Fletcher until a few weeks ago. What's he been doing all this time? By this stage he should have been working on a relationship with all currently available players past and present including under 21s, whether he has them as part of his plans or not. Players like Leigh Griffiths are too important to Scotland to allow them to go in a huff. He should have been managed through the decision not to start him against Albania, in the same way as he's no doubt managed through the same thing at Celtic. There seems to be an issue over communication with the players, and the next coach needs to be all about that.
If we sacked McLeish and went for someone like Paul Lambert, who has all the inspiration of a turtle, then we might as well lock it up and go home. If it weren't for his baggage, I actually think Neil Lennon would be a great choice.