Scotland V Belgium: Blame players for defeat says Gary Caldwell

Craig Levein looks on as Kenny Miller, Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney leave the field after Scotland's 2-0 defeat in Belgium last night

Craig Levein looks on as Kenny Miller, Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney leave the field after Scotland's 2-0 defeat in Belgium last night

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SCOTLAND defender Gary Caldwell insists under-fire 
manager Craig Levein shouldn’t be fired.

The national team suffered the ignominy of slipping bottom of their World Cup qualifying section after last night’s comprehensive 2-0 defeat in Belgium. With only two points from four games, the increasingly-unpopular Levein is now hanging by a thread and faces an anxious few days to learn if the SFA will back or sack him.

However, Caldwell is 
adamant that it would be missing the target entirely if the manager carries the can for the national team’s continued struggles under his stewardship.He said: “We know we have let ourselves down. We have to take responsibility for that over the four games so far. We have not hit the heights we feel we can since the campaign started.

“As players that is our responsibility and we need to look at ourselves individually and as a team and admit it has not been good enough. You can see it is the case the players are all 
behind the manager.

“When a manager gets sacked usually a team is in disarray. I know I have been part of teams that have been like that. I don’t think that team tonight is one that was in disarray. We had a good structure and organisation to the team and we stuck to that. Everyone gave 100 per cent to try to get a result against a very good side and we just fell short. The commitment is there from everyone towards the manager. It is now about keeping that and trying to move forward and getting the best performances in the big games. That is the challenge we have.

“We don’t make the decisions and neither does the manager. All we can do is give our best. Everyone did that tonight.”

A banner reading “Strachan SOS” was unveiled by disgruntled Tartan Army foot soldiers towards the end of the match in Brussels, implying a desire for the increasingly-unpopular manager to step aside and make way for Gordon Strachan.

Such is the depth of feeling against Levein, it seems most fans would take anyone in place of the current manager. However, the former Hearts player and boss is in no mood to throw in the towel on the job he loves.

“I want to stay on as manager; the rest isn’t up to me,” he said. “I’ll continue to do the job to the best of my ability and we’ll see what happens.”

The SFA will now have to decide whether to stick with a man they have invested a lot of faith in, or bow to the demands of the paying public.