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McLeish right man to lead Scotland: Smith


By Ronnie Esplin

Walter Smith resisted the temptation of a possible return to the Scotland hotseat but believes the Scottish Football Association opted for the right manager in Alex McLeish.

Smith was boss of the national team between 2004 and 2007.

The former Rangers manager was linked with the post after the departure of Gordon Strachan in October.

However, McLeish was named Scotland manager for the second time last month and is preparing for the friendly against Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday night before a second challenge match against Hungary next Tuesday night.

Smith said: "I never got to the stage where, despite what you might have read that the SFA offered me the job, they only asked if I would be prepared to come out of retirement and that is effectively where it was.

"I suppose there is always a little bit of a pull to come back again but in the end I felt I had been out for too long a period and happy enough to get my golf handicap down - which I'm failing to do.

"Alex McLeish is a tried and tested manager. If anything, he is one that they should have gone for in the first place.

"His record as Scotland team manager was good.

"I didn't see any reason why they shouldn't have attempted to get him in the first place.

"He is back there now and gets another opportunity."

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