Who are the candidates to be the next Scotland manager?

General consensus is that following the defeat to Wales that essentially ended Scotland’s hopes of reaching the 2014 World Cup bar a miraculous result in Belgium on Tuesday night, that Craig Levein’s reign as manager of the Tartan Army is all but over. It was never going to be an easy job considering the fact that the last time the Scots graced a major tournament came over 10 years ago at France 98 but with only three competitive victories since he took charge in 2009, two of which came against minnows Liechtenstein, the writing appears to be on the wall for the ex-Dundee United manager.

However, just who could possibly walk into Levein’s shoes and improve on his work?

Gordon Strachan – The former Coventry, Southampton, Celtic and Middlesbrough manager would appear the ideal candidate on paper. At 55, he now has the experience that he has previously felt he lacked when linked with the position and will possibly fee that having experienced both the highs of managerial life at Celtic and the lows at Coventry and latterly Middlesbrough, that he will be well equipped for the rigours of life at Hampden Park.

Indeed, Strachan would prove a popular appointment with the fans considering his reputation for producing good footballing sides, a stark contrast from the style Levein seems to be employing at the moment. However, Strachan has openly admitted that in his disappointing spell at Middlesbrough, he lost a touch of hunger for the game, though that beast would surely be re-woken if given the chance to take the Scottish reigns.

Stuart McCall – Having cut his teeth as a manager in an unsuccessful three-year spell at Bradford, McCall has done a sterling job at Motherwell since taking charge in 2010. Indeed, last season the Fir Park-based club finished in third position and were awarded a place in the Champions League due to Rangers’ financial difficulties, though a difficult draw against Greek heavyweights Panathinaikos ended their involvement in Europe’s top competition.

However, Motherwell have started their domestic season extremely brightly and are currently only two points behind overwhelming favourites Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League. McCall would represent a risky choice but in an again important contrast with Levein, McCall’s Motherwell side appears to play with an attacking intent currently lacking in the Scottish national side and with Celtic surefire favourites to dominate Scottish football for years to come with Rangers out of the picture, McCall could be tempted to jump ship if the Scottish Football Association came calling.

Mark McGhee – McGhee was almost appointed Scotland manager back first in November 2007, where he lost out to George Burley and then in late 2009 when Levein was appointed ahead of him. At the time, McGhee was working wonders with Motherwell but since then, a move to Aberdeen failed to prove a success and the 55-year-old is now currently involved in a relegation scrap with League Two side Bristol Rovers. Would surely prove to be an unpopular appointment with the supporters and unfortunately for McGhee, the ship looks to have sailed for him.

Alex McLeish – Would be a controversial appointment given the nature of the way he was seen to have abandoned the Scotland national side in 2007 following their narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008. However, after being relegated with Birmingham before then enduring a horror season in charge of Aston Villa before being mercifully relieved of his duties last summer, McLeish is in danger of being cast adrift into the international wilderness and could be tempted to quickly get back in the saddle in a job that he knows so well.

Derek McInnes – The Paisley-born Bristol City manager is only 41 but earned the job at Ashton Gate after a superlative job at St. Johnstone north of the border. His Robins outfit have endured a patchy start to the Championship season and currently lie in 17th place but they have been noted for their free-flowing attacking football that looks capable of scoring goals at almost any moment. Could well be an interesting appointment if the Scottish FA look to go down the route of a “project” manager to lay the groundwork for future success.

Kenny Daglish – An unlikely appointment in the extreme considering that the only reason “King Kenny” came out of retirement was to take over at his beloved Liverpool. However, with his unceremonious sacking by the club’s owners at the end of last season, it is possible that Daglish may have “caught the bug” of being back in the hotseat. At his age and experience, international football might even be more suited to him. However, one would imagine that the Scottish FA would be on a wild goose chase if they chose to pursue him.

Adam Mazrani