Gordon Strachan and the Scottish Football Association are expected to take some time to consider the Scotland manager’s future after their World Cup near-miss.
Strachan’s contract expires next month following Scotland’s failure to reach the play-offs on goal difference after a 2-2 draw in Slovenia, and it is understood there was no debrief scheduled between the two parties in the immediate aftermath of the Ljubljana encounter.
A late Robert Snodgrass equaliser ensured Scotland remain unbeaten this year – a run which includes the final six matches of their qualifying group.
Scotland turned their campaign around after Strachan and the SFA came to the mutual decision to carry on with the management team following discussions after taking four points from their first four games.
Strachan’s side were hampered by injuries to Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong and James Morrison in Ljubljana, players who could conceivably have formed a first-choice midfield trio.
But the agony of extending the wait to appear at a major tournament beyond 20 years has sparked renewed debate around the manager’s position.
Much of the focus is on team selections in the early part of the campaign, for example ignoring the clamour to play Leigh Griffiths, who has scored four goals since being given his first start of the qualifiers against England four matches in.
Former Scotland striker Kris Boyd believes Strachan will himself call time on his international reign but believes the 60-year-old should stay.
“I think he will leave of his own accord,” the Kilmarnock player told Sky Sports News HQ. “I think the SFA would want him to stay, they will appreciate the job he has done, but the criticism Gordon received in the early part of the campaign, he won’t have forgotten about. I’d be very surprised if he comes back for another shot.
“I think he is the right man for the job, you only need to see the way it has been turned around.
“A lot of people say that at the start of the campaign he was a bit pig-headed and not wanting to change things, but that’s the way Gordon has been throughout his career and it has brought him success. At the start of the campaign people were going on about why Leigh Griffiths wasn’t starting, but Leigh Griffiths wasn’t in the form he is now back then.
“The key thing for me is the defence. When you look back at the start of the campaign, the defensive unit wasn’t what it is now. We were losing goals, even in Malta, and a change was needed. Gordon did that and we picked up a lot of points.”
Strachan’s comments about Scotland having a “genetical problem”, with shorter players having to battle harder against more physical opponents, have attracted much attention but Boyd believes they have been taken out of context.
“Emotions are running high after the game,” the former Rangers player said. “If you speak to him this morning, it would probably be a totally different answer.
“I think what he was trying to get across was the fact that we lost two goals from set-plays, we don’t have the big physical boys the other nations have got.
“As a country as a whole, are we small? Not at all, but when you are losing goals in the football environment, he can only speak about that. I think that’s what he meant but it was taken out of context.”
Strachan definitely appears to have the backing of his players and Darren Fletcher argued the case for continuity in the wake of the draw at the Stozice Stadium.
“I think you see the lads turn up and respond to the manager, like the way he works,” the Stoke player told STV. “He gets the best out of us. I think this group of lads will qualify for the Euros.”