Mark McGhee checked in as the new Motherwell boss still in shock from Scotland’s 2016 Euro qualifying failure but hoping Gordon Strachan remains as national team manager.
The Scotland assistant, 58, returned to take over at Fir Park for the second time 48 hours after Strachan was given a rousing reception from the Tartan Army during and after their 6-0 Group D win over Gibraltar in Faro, even though the Scots were already out of the competition.
Strachan will announce this week whether he remains in the post, and McGhee, who signed a contract with Motherwell until May 2017, is hoping he will stay in his post for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
“I feel better that I have got this job,” he said.
“I still feel like everyone else, absolutely gutted and still in a bit of shock with regards to the fact that we haven’t qualified and we aren’t even in the play-offs.
“That is a huge disappointment and I feel like Gordon does, culpability in that.
“We can talk about bad luck or whatever way you want to dress it up but ultimately we haven’t qualified and that was the task put to us.
“I am very disappointed and in some ways a little bit embarrassed by that.
“I know Gordon found the reaction he got after the Gibraltar game absolutely extraordinary.
“I would think he would measure that as one of the great moments in his career. It was a very special night.
“So I think that would do him a power of good and I would hope, like many of those guys (fans), that he will continue.
“But there is the cold reality. Whatever Gordon was feeling the other day when he left the emotional time he had on Sunday night, he goes away and in the quietness of his own home contemplates what’s happened then maybe then he goes back to the bad place.
“We are all waiting to hear how that is going to fall. I don’t know. I couldn’t read Gordon, he is not easy to read. He will make his own decision but I hope he continues.
“I will continue to be the assistant manager if the manager continues to be the manager there and the club here, particularly the owner, Les (Hutchison), he is more than happy for me to continue.”
McGhee, was manager at Motherwell between 2007 and 2009, is looking forward to the daily involvement with players after scouting for Scotland in between international matches.
The former Aberdeen and Bristol Rovers boss said: “For the last two and half years I have indulged myself in going to Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea and all the London clubs, to watch all the lads with any tenuous link to Scotland.
“I had to apologise to the Arsenal secretary at one time because I think he thought that I thought I had a season ticket.
“It seemed like every week they were playing a team that had Scottish players.
“I have enjoyed that tremendously, it has been a privilege to watch these games but there is only so many times you can do that.
“There are so many cappuccinos you can drink and if anyone wants to know about the best cappuccinos in East Sussex then I am your man.
“But I have had enough of that.
“I am looking forward to Thursday and getting started. I would be in on Wednesday but I have been away from my family for nearly two weeks with the Scotland party.
“I need to go back and get some clean pants and a few shirts and get back up here to get started.”
Asked what success would be for a club who retained their Ladbrokes Premiership status with a play-off win against Rangers, and who sit in ninth position ahead of the visit of Celtic on Saturday, the former Aberdeen and Scotland striker said: “Not being in the embarrassing situation they were in last year, scrambling to avoid relegation at the end.
“We would hope to rise above that and do a bit better than that.”