Scotland manager Alex McLeish admits fans lost faith after Israel defeat
By Shona Duthie
Last Updated: 25/12/18 7:03am
Scotland manager McLeish says he’d gladly have swapped jobs with Prime Minister Theresa May following their defeat to Israel in October.
McLeish's side lost 2-1 in Haifa, but victories in their remaining Nations League games away to Albania and Israel at home saw them top their group.
However, that 3-2 home win over Israel in November was played out in front of a crowd of around 21,000 at Hampden Park, and McLeish feels that the Tartan Army had given up on the team.
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"I think that's how it would appear," McLeish said when asked if supporters had stopped backing his side.
"'The fans giving up'. When you hear phrases such as that from the Scotland fans, it is sort of unthinkable.
"But I know what we are like, I am a Scotland fan as well. As soon as we get a good result we are back again - it's the fickleness of the whole thing.
"There is no doubt, if we get a good team that excites the fans, we can win games like we did in these last two.
"I would have swapped my job with Theresa May's after the Israel game!"
Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup and will face Belgium, Russia, Kazakhstan, Cyprus and San Marino in their Euro 2020 qualifying group.
If McLeish's side fail to qualify through the traditional method, they still have another chance via the Nations League play-offs, having won their group.
McLeish won seven major trophies as Rangers manager, plus the League Cup at Birmingham City, but admits guiding Scotland to a major tournament would be his career highlight.
"That would be up there in my career, it's something we have not done as a nation for an enormous amount of time," he said.
"A couple of generations have missed out - it would definitely be up there with some of the great triumphs, if not the greatest.
"Because we have been cited as a nation who have regressed in football terms, now we have to pick that back up again. If we do that it's a huge strength."