Years, perhaps decades, of the SFA sleeping at the wheel have brought our country’s team to the brink of total ruination.
Utter failure at every level of governance has made the job of national coach into an impossible one.
The co-efficient has tanked.
From here on in, every draw is going to have us in the bottom half. It is a cycle from which there is no visible escape.
UEFA wants to increase the size of its international finals; at the rate our national team is regressing even that is not going to help us.
The sight of Steve Clarke looking forlorn on the touchline last night as Scotland were absolutely dismantled in the second half against Russia was heart-wrenching. He is paying for the sins of his predecessor, but the men who hired McLeish continue to go on their merry way; indeed, the man most responsible now sits atop the organisation.
How proud he must be this morning of this absolute shambles.
Celtic opposed the ascension of Rod Petrie, although there was a time when he was once a key ally of ours.
I think proximity to him, watching him in a decision making capacity, changed a lot of minds.
He has proved to be another SFA empty suit, and it is difficult to have any confidence in what he does next. He cannot sack Clarke, so he must support him … but I don’t think he has a clue what that would involve. I don’t think he has a clue how to.
Clarke is in a desperate position here.
The demands on him are incredible.
Last time around, Gerrard picked an argument with him which had more to do with pique at incidents last season than they did anything else.
Ryan Jack was sent to the Scotland camp injured.
It was the club’s responsibility to make that clear to the Scotland coaches … it is hard to escape the feeling that Gerrard was looking for an excuse to make an issue out of something.
Then there is Celtic, and the tension there.
I think most people at Celtic Park like and respect Clarke and he definitely likes and respects our club … but he knows that some inside it would like to see him use our players more sparingly and especially in games that don’t matter.
None of the games matter now.
Celtic needs to take care of itself, as hard as this is on Clarke.
And one of the ways in which we have to do so is for Lawwell to continue lobbying UEFA to change the way the co-efficient is calculated for club football.
It cannot be right that the grotesque mismanagement at the SFA and decades of sheer neglect are costing us as they are.
We have done our bit to help Scotland’s last few managers, even McLeish who’s appointment was a flat-out disgrace and is part of the reason Clarke is in this trouble.
Our contribution to the national team has been, by far, the biggest of any club.
We cannot be accused of not supporting the system.
But our players are not miracle workers and neither is Clarke, and that’s what Scotland needs.
The lack of leadership makes it highly unlikely we’ll see one soon.
We can’t afford to wait for it.
We need to get clear of this unfolding disaster before it drags us down even further.
It should be one of Lawwell’s key priorities going forward, that and lobbying for the kind of SFA reforms that might actually do some good.
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