HE’S just been appointed to the top job in Scottish football, but for residents of the city neighbourhood where he honed his skills, Gordon Strachan will always be “one of ours”.
Muirhouse residents have hailed their most famous son after he was named Scotland manager and predicted his tactical nous would help the national side progress after a run of poor results.
Teachers and coaches at Strachan’s old school and football club said they were “chuffed to bits” at yesterday’s announcement and said the ex-Celtic and Middlesbrough boss was the “right man for the job”.
Strachan, 55, will replace Craig Levein, who was sacked as Scotland boss in November following a poor run of form which has left the nation almost certain to miss out on qualification for next year’s World Cup.
His contract will see him lead Scotland through the remainder of the World Cup qualifying campaign and the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
But that was far from the minds of those in Muirhouse, who today told of their excitement at the appointment and said it would help the grassroots game.
Susanne Mackay, head of PE at Craigroyston Community High, said her pupils would “treasure” their memories of training with Strachan when he returned to his old school for a day in September and spoke to aspiring S1 and S2 footballers.
She said: “He was here for over two hours, even though he was only meant to be here for one.
“He was giving them tips and advice, and talking to them about his time at Celtic. But he was really emphasising the need to do the best for yourself and work hard.
“He was telling us that he used to do a milk run before he came into school or went off to football practice. I think it meant he had to be up at something like five in the morning.”
She added: “I’m sure the fact he was talked about as a possible Scotland manager went through their minds, but he was very focused on promoting grassroots football.”
Keith Hogg, manager of amateur club Edinburgh Thistle, where Strachan played as a youngster, said: “He’ll take the team forward. Tactically, he’s very astute – just what the side needs just now.
“We consider him one of ours. He spent the first 16 years of his life here. He was a local lad, just like the majority of today’s Thistle, who I think will be chuffed to bits.”
GORDON Strachan began his football career at Dundee before joining Aberdeen in 1977.
He won two Premier Division titles, three Scottish Cups, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup with the Dons.
He joined Manchester United in 1984, winning the FA Cup in 1985.
After ending his playing career at Coventry City, he moved into management at the same club. He later became boss at Southampton, guiding the side to the FA Cup final in 2003.
He joined Celtic as manager in 2005, winning the SPL three times and twice reaching the Champions League last 16. He then spent a year as boss of Middlesbrough, leaving in 2010.
He has 50 caps, with a highlight scoring against West Germany in the 1986 World Cup, above.