Leave off Levein

Scots are making slow progress, insists Walker

Last Updated: 07/09/11 2:26pm

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Manager Craig Levein should lead Scotland into the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign even if his side fails to make the grade for Euro 2012, according to former striker Andy Walker.

"So far we haven't quite been good enough. Results haven't been great but I do feel as though we are making slow progress."
Andy Walker Quotes of the week

Scotland sit third in Group I after beating Lithuania 1-0 but still need other results to go their way to secure a place in the Euro 2012 play-offs.

Yet while Walker believes Scotland's chances of qualifying are "very slim", he says that Levein, who signed a four-and-a-half year contract in December 2009, is in no danger of the sack.

"He'll certainly get some criticism [if Scotland fail to qualify for Euro 2012] - he seemed a bit sensitive last night to it - but he'll definitely still be in charge, I'm sure of it," he told Sky Sports News HD.

"We've got World Cup qualifying coming up; we've got Croatia, Serbia, Belgium and Macedonia in that group so I think we can all see that we are getting slightly better.

"There has been a lot of talk - I think maybe a bit too much - of staggering progress; I don't think we are doing that well. We are making good, slow progress.

"It's good to see some of the young players - Barry Bannan and David Goodwillie - coming into play.

"When you look at the amount of top players we have in the Premier League, for example Charlie Adam plying his trade at Liverpool, James Morrison and Darren Fletcher, who thankfully is back to full fitness; we've got a real strong core of good players."

Progress

Scotland trail second-placed Czech Republic by two points - and have an inferior goal difference - going into the final two games of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Levein's men travel away to Liechtenstein on October 8 before heading to Spain three days later, while their group rivals entertain the World Cup champions before making the trip to Lithuania.

"I think we all expected Spain to be runaway winners, we all expected Liechtenstein to be bottom of the group, so we were really competing with the Czech Republic and Lithuania," reflected Walker.

"So far we haven't quite been good enough. Results haven't been great but I do feel as though we are making slow progress. That's good to see because we were in a dark place under Berti Vogts and the time under George Burley wasn't particularly successful either.

"The defining games of the campaign have been the Czech Republic away, where we didn't really give ourselves an opportunity to win the game with the very strange formation that Craig chose to play.

"Then there was the defining moment at the weekend in a big game, the Czech Republic at home. Despite the furore at the end it finished 2-2.

"Of course, we've still got a very slim opportunity. If we beat Liechtenstein next month then obviously the Czech Republic need to lose to Spain and Lithuania.

"The interesting thing now is that Spain have already qualified so I'm sure their manager, Vicente del Bosque, will take the opportunity of giving one or two of his squad players the chance to impress him. So it will be interesting to see the make-up of Spain's starting XI in the next two games."

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