The role of a Scotland national football team manager was first established in May 1954, when Andy Beattie was appointed. Beattie took charge of six matches before and during the 1954 FIFA World Cup, when Scotland competed at their first major tournament. Twenty-two men have occupied the post since its inception, with Beattie and Jock Stein occupying it in two different spells. Five of those managers were in caretaker or interim roles. Craig Brown held the position for the longest to date; a tenure of 9 years, comprising two major tournaments and a total of 71 matches.
Andrew Beattie was a Scottish professional football player and manager. He was the first manager of the Scottish national team.
The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946. The tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average number of goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated Hungary 3–2 in the final, giving them their first title.
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. It competes in the three major professional tournaments, the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Nations League and the UEFA European Championship. Scotland, as a constituent country of the United Kingdom, is not a member of the International Olympic Committee and therefore the national team does not compete in the Olympic Games. The majority of Scotland's home matches are played at the national stadium, Hampden Park.
No manager has progressed beyond the first group stage of a major competition, even though Scotland qualified for several between 1954 and 1998. Beattie (1954), Walker (1958), Willie Ormond (1974), Ally MacLeod (1978), Stein (1982), Ferguson (1986), Andy Roxburgh (1990 and 1992) and Brown (1996 and 1998) have all managed the team at major competitions. Ian McColl, Ormond and MacLeod all won the British Home Championship outright.
The 1958 FIFA World Cup, the sixth staging of the World Cup, was hosted by Sweden from 8 to 29 June. The tournament was won by Brazil, who beat Sweden 5–2 in the final in the Stockholm suburb of Solna for their first title. The tournament is also notable for marking the debut on the world stage of a then 17-year-old Pelé.
William Esplin Ormond was a Scottish football player and manager. As a player, Ormond was well known as one of Hibernian's Famous Five forward line, winning three league championships in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After a successful spell managing St Johnstone he led Scotland to the 1974 World Cup finals. Scotland were unbeaten at that World Cup, but were eliminated on goal difference.
The 1974 FIFA World Cup was the 10th FIFA World Cup, and was played in West Germany between 13 June and 7 July. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was awarded. The previous trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, had been won for the third time by Brazil in 1970 and awarded permanently to the Brazilians. The host nation won the title, beating the Netherlands 2–1 in the final at Munich's Olympiastadion. The victory was the second for West Germany, who had also won in 1954. Australia, East Germany, Haiti and Zaire made their first appearances at the final stage, with East Germany making their only appearance before Germany was reunified in 1990.
The team has not qualified for a major competition since 1998. German coach Berti Vogts became the first foreign manager of the team in 2002, but his time in charge was generally seen as a failure and the FIFA World Ranking declined to an all-time low of 88 in March 2005. Walter Smith and Alex McLeish achieved better results, with the ranking improving to an all-time high of 13 in October 2007, but both were only briefly in charge before returning to club management. George Burley and Craig Levein both had worse results with the team and were eventually sacked. Results improved somewhat under Gordon Strachan, but he was unable to secure qualification for a tournament. McLeish then returned for a second spell as manager in 2018.
Hans-Hubert "Berti" Vogts is a former German footballer who played as a defender. He played for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga his whole professional club career and won the FIFA World Cup with West Germany in 1974. He later managed the national teams of Germany, Scotland, Nigeria and Azerbaijan.
Walter Ferguson Smith is a Scottish former football player, manager and director. He is primarily associated with his two spells as manager of Scottish club Rangers.
Alexander McLeish is a Scottish football manager and former player, who is currently the Scotland national team manager. Born in Glasgow, McLeish played as a central defender for Aberdeen during their 1980s glory years, making nearly 500 League appearances for the club, and won 77 caps for Scotland.
The Scotland manager has sole responsibility for all on-the-field elements of the Scotland team. Among other activities, this includes selecting the national team squad, the starting team, captain, tactics, substitutes and penalty-takers. The manager has input in selecting the coaching ("back room") staff. For example, in 2008 manager George Burley helped to recruit Terry Butcher, a former teammate at Ipswich Town, as his assistant.The Scotland manager may also involve himself in wider issues beyond the on-the-field team issues, such as negotiating fixtures. In the period before a manager was appointed, the team was picked by the international selection committee of the Scottish Football Association (SFA). This committee was made up of officials from Scottish clubs, who had responsibility for picking their own sides. There were large inconsistencies in selection; however, and players were often picked without some or all of the selectors having watched them play.
The team captain of an association football team, sometimes known as the skipper, is a team member chosen to be the on-pitch leader of the team: it is often one of the older/or more experienced members of the squad, or a player that can heavily influence a game or have good leadership qualities. The team captain is usually identified by the wearing of an armband.
A penalty kick is a method of restarting play in association football, in which a player is allowed to take a single shot on the goal while it is defended only by the opposing team's goalkeeper. It is awarded when a foul punishable by a direct free kick is committed by a player in his or her own penalty area. The shot is taken from the penalty mark, which is 12 yards (11 m) from the goal line and centred between the touch lines.
George Elder Burley is a Scottish former football player and manager.
The process of appointing a new Scotland manager is undertaken by the main SFA board.After a review was conducted by former First Minister of Scotland Henry McLeish, the SFA board structure was streamlined considerably in 2011. Professional game and non-professional game boards govern their respective areas of football, while the main board has a strategic focus. There are eight members on the main board, consisting of three SFA office bearers, two representatives from the SPFL, one from the Scottish Amateur FA and two independent members. As of September 2018, these positions were occupied by Alan MacRae (SFA president), Rod Petrie (SFA vice-president), Ian Maxwell (SFA chief executive), Neil Doncaster (SPFL), Mike Mulraney (SPFL), Thomas McKeown (Amateur FA) and Ana Stewart (independent). One independent position on the board was vacant at that time.
The First Minister of Scotland is the leader of the Scottish Government. The First Minister chairs the Scottish Cabinet and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of Scottish Government policy. Additional functions of the First Minister include promoting and representing Scotland in an official capacity, at home and abroad, and responsibility for constitutional affairs, as they relate to devolution and the Scottish Government.
Henry Baird McLeish is a Scottish nationalist politician, author and academic who briefly served as the Labour First Minister of Scotland from 2000 until 2001, when he had to resign following a financial scandal, the first major scandal to face the Scottish Parliament since its reincarnation. Formerly a professional football player, McLeish was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Fife from 1987 to 2001 and the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Fife from 1999 to 2003.
The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) is the national men's association football league in Scotland. The league was formed in June 2013 following a merger between the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League. As well as operating its league competition, which consists of the top four levels of the Scottish football league system, the SPFL also operates two domestic cup competitions, the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Challenge Cup. While the Scottish Cup includes all the teams within the SPFL, the competition is run and organised by the Scottish Football Association.
All but one of the 23 people to manage Scotland had played the game professionally. The exception is Dawson Walker, who was placed in interim charge of the team while Matt Busby was recovering from the effects of the Munich air disaster.Of the 22 Scotsmen to hold the post of manager, ten were never capped for the senior Scotland team as a player (Walker, Stein, Prentice, MacDonald, MacLeod, Ferguson, Roxburgh, Brown, Smith and Stark), although some of them did represent the Scottish Football League (Stein, Prentice, MacDonald and Ferguson). Of the 11 that played for Scotland, six earned at least 10 caps: McColl (14), Docherty (25), McLeish (77), Burley (11), Levein (16) and Strachan (50). Four also served as Scotland captains; Docherty (8), McLeish (8), Levein (1) and Strachan (5). Berti Vogts, the only foreign manager to hold the post, earned 96 caps for West Germany and was part of their 1974 World Cup winning side.
Dawson Walker was manager of the Scotland national football team in 1958. Walker was left in charge of the players due to the Munich air disaster, in which official manager Matt Busby was seriously injured.
Sir Alexander Matthew Busby, CBE, KCSG was a Scottish football player and manager, who managed Manchester United between 1945 and 1969 and again for the second half of the 1970–71 season. He was the first manager of an English team to win the European Cup and is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time.
The Munich air disaster occurred on 6 February 1958 when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport, West Germany. On the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the "Busby Babes", along with supporters and journalists. Twenty of the 44 on the aircraft died at the scene. The injured, some unconscious, were taken to the Rechts der Isar Hospital in Munich where three more died, resulting in 23 fatalities with 21 survivors.
Until 1954, the Scotland team was managed by a SFA selection committee.The role of manager was first established in May 1954 with the appointment of Andy Beattie, who took charge on a part-time basis while continuing as manager of Huddersfield Town. Beattie took the team to the 1954 FIFA World Cup, but the SFA only allowed him to select a travelling party of 13 players. Beattie, who felt this restriction made it impossible for him to perform his duties well, resigned during the tournament. Scotland were eliminated from the tournament after a 7–0 defeat by Uruguay.
After the 1954 World Cup, the selection committee resumed their duties, continuing until the appointment of Matt Busby in 1958. Busby was initially unable to assume his duties due to the serious injuries he sustained in the Munich air disaster, with Dawson Walker taking charge of the team while Busby recovered.Busby only took charge of two Scotland matches, but he did give a young Denis Law his first Scotland cap. In March 1959, Andy Beattie became Scotland manager for a second time. During his second spell as Scotland manager, Beattie combined those duties with managing a football club. He resigned in November 1960 in order to manage English club Nottingham Forest on a full-time basis.
Ian McColl, who had just retired from a long playing career with Rangers, was appointed Scotland manager in 1960.He enjoyed significant success, winning British Home Championships in 1962 and 1963 and had an impressive winning percentage. McColl left the team in 1965 to become manager of Sunderland.
Celtic manager Jock Stein was then appointed manager of Scotland on a part-time basis.Stein took charge of their attempt to qualify for the 1966 World Cup. Scotland achieved good results in their first two qualifiers, a draw against Poland and a win against Finland. Stein was criticised by the Scottish press after the team conceded two late goals and lost 2–1 at home to Poland, but they managed to beat Italy 1–0 at Hampden Park to raise some hope of qualification. Scotland suffered from several players withdrawing from the return match against Italy due to injury and a 3–0 defeat meant that they failed to qualify. Clyde manager John Prentice then took the job on a full-time basis in 1966, but left to manage Dundee after just six months and four games in charge.
After Malky MacDonald took charge of two games on a caretaker basis, Bobby Brown was appointed manager. Brown was the first Scotland manager to be given full control of the team, as until then the SFA selection committee had continued to choose the players.Scotland achieved one of their most famous victories in his first game in charge, a 3–2 win against 1966 World Cup winners England at Wembley. The team generally performed well under Brown, but were drawn with West Germany in 1970 FIFA World Cup qualification. Scotland needed to avoid defeat in Hamburg to keep their qualification hopes alive, but lost 3–2.
Tommy Docherty was appointed manager in 1971 and had a brief, but successful, time in charge.Docherty lost only three of his 12 matches as manager, but he left the job in late 1972 to become manager of Manchester United. Despite losing 5–0 to England in his first match in charge, Scotland qualified for the 1974 World Cup under the management of Willie Ormond. Scotland performed creditably at the finals, winning against Zaire and drawing against Brazil and Yugoslavia, but were eliminated on goal difference. Ormond suffered from player indiscipline during his tenure, which included an infamous incident where Jimmy Johnstone, after a night out drinking, sat in a rowing boat that was drifting out to sea. Two teammates attempted to rescue Johnstone, but eventually he had to be retrieved by local fishermen. Ormond left the Scotland job in 1977 to become manager of Hearts.
Ally MacLeod had an immediate impact as Scotland manager, winning against England at Wembley.His team then qualified for the 1978 FIFA World Cup by defeating Wales at Anfield, although Scotland were controversially given a penalty kick. MacLeod was confident about the team's prospects, quipping that his plan for after the World Cup was to "retain it". The supporters shared in this enthusiasm, as Hampden Park was packed for a farewell parade before the team flew to the tournament, hosted by Argentina. MacLeod dismissed his first two opponents, Peru and Iran, as "old men" and "minnows" respectively. A defeat by Peru and a draw with Iran left Scotland needing to defeat the Netherlands by three clear goals to qualify. MacLeod made a number of contested selection decisions, preferring the out of form Don Masson and Bruce Rioch to Graeme Souness. Winger Willie Johnston failed a drugs test after the Peru match and was sent home. Scotland produced an outstanding performance against the Netherlands and won 3–2, but were eliminated on goal difference. MacLeod stayed on as Scotland manager after the World Cup, but resigned after a defeat by Austria in September 1978. Writers have since considered the question of whether MacLeod was the cause of a lack of Scottish self-confidence, or was someone who tried to counter it.
Jock Stein, who was working as manager of Leeds United, was recruited by the SFA to manage the Scotland team for a second time. Two defeats to Belgium meant that Scotland failed to qualify for the 1980 European Championship.This was followed by losses to Northern Ireland and England in the 1980 British Home Championship, which led to some criticism in the media. Scotland qualified for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, but exited on goal difference after they drew 2–2 with the Soviet Union in a must-win game. Scotland then failed to qualify for the 1984 European Championship, which led to criticism of Stein leading into the next competition, the 1986 World Cup. As a consequence, Stein was facing significant pressure to ensure qualification for the tournament in Mexico.
Scotland defeated Spain 3–1, but then lost 1–0 at home to Wales. This left Scotland needing to secure at least a point from their final group match, against Wales in Cardiff, to qualify for a play-off against Australia.Stein was not helped by the fact that a number of his senior players, including Graeme Souness (his captain), Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Steve Archibald would all miss the game through injury or suspension. Stein had been taking diuretics, to reduce pressure on his heart, since the home defeat by Wales. Despite his enthusiasm for the job, these strains had let to Stein indicating that he would step down after the World Cup Finals in Mexico. Scotland drew 1–1 thanks to a late penalty kick by Davie Cooper, but Stein suffered a fatal heart attack. Assistant manager Alex Ferguson took temporary charge of the team until the 1986 World Cup, from which Scotland were eliminated in the group stage.
After the 1986 World Cup, the SFA appointed their Director of Coaching, Andy Roxburgh, as the national team manager.Scotland failed to qualify for UEFA Euro 1988, but Roxburgh then guided Scotland to qualification for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Scotland defeated Argentina in a pre-tournament friendly, but were eliminated in the group stage with one win (against Sweden) and two losses. The team then qualified for UEFA Euro 1992, the first time Scotland had qualified for a European championship finals. Roxburgh resigned in September 1993 after failing to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Roxburgh was succeeded by Craig Brown, who had been his assistant.Brown had first joined the Scotland coaching setup in 1986, when the team was managed by Alex Ferguson. His appointment was greeted critically, as Brown had a low-profile career in football beforehand. Despite limited resources, Brown managed to lead Scotland to qualification for two major tournaments, UEFA Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Scotland played well in a narrow defeat against Brazil and a draw against Norway, but were eliminated after suffering a 3–0 defeat against Morocco. During 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification, Brown continued to rely on a group of ageing players, including Colin Hendry and Tom Boyd. None of his strikers were playing regularly for their clubs and the team lacked pace. Brown resigned immediately after the last qualification match.
Former Germany manager Berti Vogts was appointed Scotland manager in January 2002.A number of players retired from international football after Craig Brown resigned, which meant that Vogts had to build a new squad. He tried new players and formations, but the team suffered a number of heavy defeats in early friendly fixtures. Scotland reached the UEFA Euro 2004 qualification play-offs and won the first leg at home against the Netherlands, but were then beaten 6–0 in the return match. Vogts continued as manager into the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification matches, but resigned after the team took just two points from their first three matches. Debate about why Vogts had failed centred on whether Scotland had sufficient playing talent to compete, or if poor results had been due to his own failings.
By the time Walter Smith had been appointed manager, Scotland had dropped to a record low position in the FIFA World Rankings.Smith was credited with creating a "club atmosphere" within the national squad. Scotland performed well in the early stages of a tough UEFA Euro 2008 qualification group, but Smith resigned from the Scotland job in January 2007 to manage Rangers. Alex McLeish was hired to replace Smith. Scotland continued to pursue qualification for Euro 2008 under McLeish, but were eliminated after losing against Italy in the final match. McLeish left the Scotland job soon afterwards, to manage Birmingham City. Despite failing to qualify for a tournament, the improved results under both Smith and McLeish lifted Scotland to 13th place in the world rankings.
George Burley was appointed manager in January 2008.Burley suffered from disruptions to the squad. During a goalless home draw against Norway, Burley substituted in Chris Iwelumo, who missed an open goal from 3 yards. Striker Kris Boyd, who had been left on the bench, announced his retirement from international football. Burley dropped Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor from the team for a qualifying match against Iceland after it was reported they had been drinking through the night at the team hotel. The two players made gestures at photographers while sitting on the substitutes' bench during the match against Iceland and were then banned by the SFA. Despite failing to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the SFA initially decided to keep Burley in the job, but then decided to dismiss him after a heavy defeat in a friendly match against Wales.
Dundee United manager Craig Levein was appointed in December 2009. Levein was heavily criticised by the media for his decision to play without any strikers in a Euro 2012 qualifier against the Czech Republic, which Scotland lost 1–0.Levein continued to defend this tactical approach, even after he had left the position. Scotland failed to qualify for Euro 2012, but Levein argued that the team was improving. For 2014 World Cup qualification, Levein and the SFA successfully pushed for Scotland to have their first two fixtures at home. This policy backfired, however, as Scotland could only draw those two matches. Defeats in following away matches against Wales and Belgium resulted in Levein being sacked by the SFA.
Gordon Strachan was appointed to replace Levein. –0 in Georgia. A home defeat by Germany and a late equalising goal by Poland eliminated Scotland from contention. After a win against Gibraltar in the last qualifier, Strachan agreed a new contract with the SFA. Improved results in the later part of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification gave Scotland a chance of play-off place, but a 2–2 draw at Slovenia ended those hopes. On 12 October 2017, Strachan left his position by mutual consent.Strachan was credited with improving the fortunes of the team in his first year in charge, as Scotland achieved victories against Croatia (twice), Macedonia and Norway. In UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, Scotland appeared to have a better chance of qualification as the finals tournament was expanded from 16 teams to 24, but were drawn in a tough group with Germany, Poland and Republic of Ireland. After losing their opening match in Germany, Scotland recorded home wins against Georgia, Ireland and Gibraltar, and away draws against Poland and Ireland. In their following game Scotland produced an "insipid" performance, as they lost 1
After a failed attempt to recruit Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, Alex McLeish was appointed in February 2018 for a second stint as Scotland manager.
The following table provides a summary of the complete record of each Scotland manager, including their progress in both the World Cup and the European Championship. Statistically the most successful manager was Alex McLeish, who won seven of the ten games in his first spell. Discounting managers who took charge of less than ten games, the least successful manager was George Burley, with just three wins in 14 games.
|Name||Scotland career||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Win %|
Last updated: San Marino v Scotland, 24 March 2019. Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only. The SFA includes a match against a Hong Kong League XI played on 23 May 2002 in its statistical totals.
The following table provides a summary of results for each Scotland manager in the British Home Championship, held annually until the 1983–84 season.
|Ian McColl||1960–1965||4||2||1||50||1961–62, 1962–63|
Key: P–Number of complete tournaments played,W–Number of tournaments won, S–Number of tournaments shared, %–win percentage
Gordon David Strachan is a Scottish football manager and former player, who was the manager of the Scotland national team.
John 'Jock' Stein was a Scottish football player and manager. He was the first manager of a British side to win the European Cup, with Celtic in 1967. Stein also guided Celtic to nine successive Scottish League championships between 1966 and 1974.
Barry Ferguson is a Scottish football coach, former player and pundit, who is currently the manager of Lowland League club Kelty Hearts.
Craig William Levein is a Scottish professional football player and coach, who is currently the manager and director of football at Heart of Midlothian. During his playing career he played for Cowdenbeath and Heart of Midlothian, making over 300 league appearances for the Edinburgh club until he was forced to retire by injury. He also won 16 caps for Scotland and was part of their 1990 FIFA World Cup squad.
Alistair Reid "Ally" MacLeod was a Scottish professional football player and manager. He is perhaps best known for his time as the Scotland national football team manager, including their appearance at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. MacLeod played as a left winger for Third Lanark, St Mirren, Blackburn Rovers, Hibernian and Ayr United. He then managed Ayr United, Aberdeen, Scotland, Motherwell, Airdrieonians and Queen of the South.
Andrew Watson is a Scottish former professional footballer and coach.
The 2005–06 season was the 109th season of competitive football in Scotland.
Scott Brown is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Scottish Premiership club Celtic.
Kris Boyd is a Scottish professional footballer who plays for Scottish Premiership club Kilmarnock.
Rangers Football Club, formed in 1872, were the first association football club in the world to win more than fifty national league titles, currently 54. The club is also the most honoured in the world, winning 115 trophies in total.
Donald Park is a Scottish football player and coach.
Allan James McGregor is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Scottish Premiership club Rangers. McGregor has also previously played for St Johnstone, Dunfermline Athletic, Turkish team Beşiktaş, English club Hull City, Welsh side Cardiff City and the Scotland national team.
Andrew Roxburgh is a Scottish former football player and manager currently serving as an administrator. Roxburgh's entire professional playing career was spent in the Scottish Football League. After retiring as a player, he was appointed as the Scottish Football Association's first Director of Coaching. He achieved success with the national youth teams, winning the 1982 UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship.
The history of the Scotland national football team dates back to the first ever international football match in 1872. Until the Second World War, Scotland mainly competed against the other Home Nations in the British Home Championship, with the most keenly contested fixture being the match with England. The Scottish Football Association, which governs the team, joined the international governing body FIFA in 1910, but along with the other Home Nations withdrew from FIFA in 1928. This meant that Scotland did not participate in the World Cups of 1930, 1934 or 1938. The Home Nations rejoined FIFA after the Second World War and Scotland then started to participate in international competitions. Scotland have since participated in eight World Cups and two European Championship tournaments, but have never progressed beyond the first stage. Scotland have not qualified for a tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
Peter Houston is a Scottish football player and manager who is currently assistant manager at Greenock Morton and the Scotland under-21 side..
This article is a record of Scotland's results at the FIFA World Cup. Scotland have played at eight World Cups, including five consecutive tournaments from 1974 to 1990. Scotland have never advanced beyond the first round of the finals competition. They have missed out on progressing to the second round three times on goal difference: in 1974, when Brazil edged them out; in 1978, when the Netherlands progressed; and in 1982, when the USSR qualified.
On 10 September 1985, the Welsh and Scottish national teams played each other during the qualifying stages of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at Ninian Park, the home of Cardiff City. The game was both teams' final match of the qualifying tournament, and both were still able to gain a place at the finals in Mexico; Wales needed to win the game, while Scotland knew that a draw would be enough.