Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan claims Craig Levein has rescued Scotland from the “disarray” of previous boss George Burley despite failing to get the country to the Euro 2012 finals.
Scotland’s 3-1 defeat to Group I winners Spain in Alicante on Tuesday night meant they missed out on a play-off spot to Czech Republic. However, Regan backed Levein, claiming the former Hearts boss has made giant strides since taking over from Burley, who departed in November 2009 following a 3-0 defeat to Wales.
Regan said: “On a personal level, I am hugely impressed by the work being carried out by Craig and anyone who speaks to the players in the squad will realise just how big an impact he has made on a team that, frankly, was in disarray before he took over.
“The players believe in what he wants to achieve and the performances and results are continuing to improve. Look at the impact David Goodwillie, Barry Bannan, Charlie Adam, Phil Bardsley and now Craig Mackail-Smith are making: these players have all come to prominence under Craig Levein. He is dedicated to taking this team forward and qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.”
Asked about his assessment of the campaign just finished, Regan concurred with Levein in claiming that the second part had been more encouraging than the first. “Firstly, I share Craig’s disappointment at not reaching the play-offs,” said Regan. “But I defy anyone to look at the squad we have now, compare it to the early period of Craig’s tenure, and say we have not made considerable progress. Throughout the campaign, we have developed not just in terms of personnel but in identifying a style of play that works.
“I always make a point of wishing the manager the best of luck before a game and speaking to him afterwards. It is important that he knows he has the full support of myself and everyone at the Scottish FA. What happens now is simple. We reflect on the campaign as a whole and prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign.”