Belfast Telegraph

Gordon Strachan points out route to the top for young managers

By Staff Reporter

Gordon Strachan has told up and coming Scottish managers to "get ready for a lot of long nights where you think you are useless."

The Scotland boss was speaking at his team's Mar Hall Hotel training base near Glasgow ahead of tonight's Hampden Park friendly clash with Northern Ireland.

Watching Strachan's earlier training session were managers such as Dundee boss Paul Hartley, Alan Archibald of Partick Thistle, Hearts' Robbie Neilson and Norwich City boss Alex Neil, who are part of a group undertaking their UEFA Pro Licence.

Asked if he had any advice for the next generation of managers, the former Celtic, Southampton and Coventry boss did not sugarcoat his reply.

"Get ready for a lot of long nights where you think you are useless," he said.

"I'm serious. And you have to deal with that. There are a lot of players who I worked with who are now managers who phone me up.

"Now I know what Howard Wilkinson (his former boss at Leeds) felt like. I used to phone him a lot when I was in trouble.

"As a matter of fact, every time he picked up the phone he used to say 'what's up now?'

"So we are always there to give advice and we are the only people who can give advice to managers because nobody else knows what it feels like.

"It is great to see Neil and Neilson doing terrifically well, showing that we have top coaches.

"But I don't know (if it is a particularly good bunch). Only time can tell.

"You can only be called a good manager or a great manager, like Sir Alex Ferguson and those people, if you can hang in there for a long, long time.

"But it is a good way to learn. The best way to learn is being a manager and making mistakes."

The former Scotland midfielder is preparing for the match against Northern Ireland before the home Euro qualifier against Group D's bottom side Gibraltar and was pleased with the work rate of his squad who, after the warm-up match, look to build on seven points from four qualifiers which has taken them into third place.

He said: "Looking at the intensity of the training, you got to the stage where you think 'calm down a bit'.

"People are telling me they are all tired, people are telling me they have played 40 games and they are running about non-stop.

"You actually have to stop the training because if you let them go on they would continue.

"I was asking players if they wanted to step out but no, they are not having it.

"If we can take what we had this morning into tomorrow, then I will be more than happy.

"I don't think they have even thought about this as a friendly. There will be an intensity to the game."

Strachan declared himself impressed with Bournemouth forward Matt Ritchie who has been called up for the first time.

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