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Highs and lows: Gordon Strachan's time as Scotland boss

The national team manager has left his post following failure to reach Russia 2018.

Gone: Strachan: Manager calls it a day after almost five years.
Gone: Strachan: Manager calls it a day after almost five years. SNS Group

Gordon Strachan's reign as Scotland manager is over.

The failure to reach World Cup 2018 has proven to be Strachan's last act as national team boss after it was decided he will not carry on in the job.

Thoughts will turn to finding a successor ahead of next year's UEFA Nations League campaign but we've looked at the key moments, good and bad, in Strachan's five-year term as Scotland boss.

January 2013: Strachan named Scotland manager

https://stv.tv/sport/football/international/209862-gordon-strachan-to-be-appointed-as-manager-of-scotland-national-team/ | default

Strachan succeeded the struggling Craig Levein as Scotland boss and acknowledged the"considerable challenge ahead" in attempting to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Stating he was "extremely proud" to be given the job, he vowed would fight to instil that pride in the Scottish public by forging a strong and successful national side.

The former Aberdeen and Manchester United midfielder enjoyed a winning start to life as Scotland boss, overseeing a 1-0 victory over Estonia in a friendly at Pittodrie.

March 2013: Scotland get off to poor start

Defeat: Scotland lost at home to Wales.
Defeat: Scotland lost at home to Wales. SNS Group

Strachan failed to build on the friendly victory over Estonia, falling to a 2-1 defeat to Chris Coleman's Wales 

Scotland slumped to the foot of Group A despite Grant Hanley giving them an early lead. 

A strong counter-attacking performance from Wales led them to running out as deserved winners.

A 2-0 away loss to Serbia showed the new manager there was plenty of work to do.

https://stv.tv/sport/football/international/218728-scotland-boss-gordon-strachan-hugely-disappointed-with-defeat-to-wales/ | default

June 2013: Snodgrass gives Strachan landmark win in Croatia

https://stv.tv/sport/football/international/228575-gordon-strachan-incredibly-proud-after-scotland-beat-croatia/ | default

This performance was in line with what Strachan had promised upon his appointment as Scotland pulled off an incredible result by beating Croatia 1-0 away from home.

Robert Snodgrass bagged the winner in the first half and Scotland defended well to keep out a capable and dangerous Croatian front line in Zagreb.

August 2013: Positive signs despite Auld Enemy defeat

Pride: Scotland scored twice at Wembley against England.
Pride: Scotland scored twice at Wembley against England. SNS Group

After years in hiatus, the resumption of the England v Scotland fixture brought much excitement and the hype was justified when the two sides produced a five-goal thriller at Wembley.

James Morrison left Joe Hart squirming to send the Tartan Army wild and Kenny Miller stunned the home crowd with a wonderful turn and finish. 

The Scots couldn't hold on as they lost 3-2 but the performance gave fans hope the country could compete with the neighbours and indeed the world's bigger sides.

September 2014: New campaign and loss to Germany

https://stv.tv/sport/football/international/291216-gordon-strachan-i-thought-we-were-going-to-claim-win-over-germany/ | default

Scotland's bid to reach the expanded Euro 2016 finals began against newly crowned world champions Germany in Dortmund.

After falling behind to Thomas Muller's early header, the Scots showed incredible resilience with Ikechi Anya running through and slotting past Manuel Neuer.

The Tartan Army headed home empty-handed once again, however, with Muller grabbing a second from a set play, a vulnerability which would continue to haunt the side.

November 2014: Win over Ireland sets up Scots for qualification

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GccPPnee-4I | youtube

Following an impressive 2-2 away draw to Poland, Scotland's 1-0 win over Martin O'Neill's Ireland saw Strachan win the battle of the former Celtic managers at Parkhead.

Shaun Maloney started and finished off an incredibly neat move from a corner which proved to be the winner, giving the Dark Blues a crucial three points in their efforts to make it to France.

At the end of 2014, Scotland were level on points with both Germany and Ireland (but behind Poland) with real hope the long tournament exile could soon be over.

September 2015: Scotland dealt critical blow in Georgia (again)

https://stv.tv/sport/football/international/1328107-gordon-strachan-scotland-didnt-do-much-wrong-despite-defeat-to-georgia/ | default

All the pre-match talk centred on avoiding a repeat of the night that ruined Scotland's Euro 2008 dream. 

There were to be more tears in Tbilisi, however as Strachan's side lost 1-0 and failed to register a single shot on target in a horror display.

After the game a bullish Strachan tried to put a brave face on the performance, insisting the team were only a few key passes away from a decent display but the fans and media weren't buying it.

Viewed as a critical slip-up, the result allowed Ireland back into the mix and put huge pressure on the team ahead of two home games against Germany and Poland.

October 2015: Lewandowski double kills Euro dream

https://stv.tv/sport/football/international/1330362-scotland-out-of-euro-2016-qualifying-after-2-2-draw-with-poland/ | default

Already facing an uphill task to reach the finals, stunning goals from Matt Ritchie and Steven Fletcher had Scotland seconds away from victory.

Robert Lewandowski scrambled the ball home late in injury-time for Poland, however, and coupled with Ireland's 1-0 win over Germany killed Scotland's hopes.

As the only home nation not to make it to France, the inquest would be lengthy as the tide started to turn on the boss.

Despite the failure to qualify, Strachan agreed a fresh two-year deal to stay on from the race to reach Russia in 2018.

September 2016: Snodgrass hat-trick begins World Cup quest

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1366011-gordon-strachan-praises-cool-heads-that-turned-crisis-into-win/ | default

After bruising summer friendly defeats to European heavyweights France and Italy, there was an air of uncertainty around the opening qualifier against Malta.

The teams went in level at half-time before a Chris Martin goal and red card helped Scotland gain control. 

Robert Snodgrass competed his hat-trick to send Scotland top of the group after day one.

A potential banana skin had been avoided.

October 2016: Dismal double-header but Strachan stays on

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1369370-strachan-praises-scotland-s-second-half-performance-in-draw/ | default

Four points was the minimum target set for October's double-header against Lithuania and Slovakia. Scotland gained just one.

James McArthur's late header rescued a draw with Lithuania at a downbeat Hampden, with the home crowd booing the players off the field.

The disappointment against Lithuania transformed the trip to face Slovakia into something of a must-win game. 

Scotland slumped to a 3-0 defeat in Trnava and the bruising defeat raised serious questions over Strachan's selection, style and indeed future as Scotland boss.

Bookmakers started listing potential candidates to replace the manager as it was revealed he was considering his future.

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1369845-gordon-strachan-to-stay-as-scotland-boss-for-england-world-cup-clash/ | default

After taking time to consider his future and talk to the Scottish FA, Strachan surprised many by deciding to remain as national boss.

He was said to have been boosted by the support of the players but it was expected he would reassess his situation after the Auld Enemy clash the following month.

Strachan went into the game at Wembley knowing a defeat would leave Scotland on just four points from the first 12 and without another international fixture until March.

November 2016: Wembley defeat and Strachan stays on

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1372703-watch-highlights-of-scotland-s-3-0-defeat-to-england-at-wembley/ | default

As expected Scotland fell to defeat to group leaders England at Wembley with a 3-0 defeat leaving the team second bottom of Group F.

With a four-month break until the national team took to the field against Slovenia, questions were asked over whether or not there would be a new manager in place for the match.

After a period of feverish speculation that Strachan would walk, or would be relieved of his duties, the Scottish FA confirmed the manager would continue in his role and he had their confidence.

Stewart Regan said: "The board are convinced that he still has the hunger for this challenge and we have four home qualifiers in 2017 to rejuvenate our campaign.

"We support Gordon unanimously in improving our qualification prospects."

http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_fa_news.cfm?page=1962&newsCategoryID=6&newsID=16641 | default

March 2017: The fightback begins

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1384140-watch-highlights-of-scotland-1-0-win-over-slovenia/ | default

Scotland warmed up for what Strachan admitted was a "must-win" against Slovenia with a friendly against Canada at Easter Road. 

The manager looked at the game as "a chance to make everyone feel good about themselves".

As it transpired Canada, ranked 117th in the world, took all the feel-good factor by taking the lead and ultimately leaving with a 1-1 draw. 

Scotland players and coaching staff may have insisted the purpose of the exercise was to get game time but nobody saw many positives to take as the clock ticked down on a crucial World Cup qualifier.

For 88 minutes of the qualifier at Hampden, Slovenia looked like taking a point and delivering a further damaging blow but Chris Martin came off the bench to fire in a late winner.

It took Scotland to seven points from five fixtures at the the halfway stage of the campaign and into fourth place, two points behind second-placed Slovakia, ahead of the visit of Group F leaders England in June.

June 2017: Griffiths shines but England salvage point

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1390916-scotland-2-2-england-kane-goal-denies-famous-scottish-win/ | default

Only the most optimistic of fans would have pencilled in three points against the group top seeds and leaders 

Scotland and Strachan emerged with a creditable draw, however, and were left bemoaning a late blow.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put the visitors ahead on 70 minutes before Leigh Griffiths stepped up to score with two sumptuous free-kicks. 

A famous victory and invaluable three points looked to be heading Strachan's way before a lapse of concentration allowed Harry Kane to net a late equaliser.

Regardless of the pain from Kane, Scotland went into the summer with renewed optimism and a clear understanding that the final four games left little room for error.

September 2017: Momentum builds with double victory

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1397079-watch-scotland-beat-malta-2-0-in-key-world-cup-qualifier/ | default

When the squad reconvened in September for the double-header, Strachan denied the match against Lithuania was a must-win. 

The manager argued ten points would be enough to reach the play-off and a draw would still leave that target as achievable.

Nevertheless, with Slovenia and Slovakia still to come, it was obvious the best chances of victory would come in the September matches and Scotland duly delivered.

With six players from Celtic's Invincibles team starting, Lithuania were defeated 3-0 as Scotland delivered a fluid, confident performance. 

Stuart Armstrong, Andrew Robertson and James McArthur's goals lifted Scotland above Slovenia in the table and lifted hopes of a strong finish propelling the team into the play-offs.

Momentum was with Strachan and his players and though there was a dip in energy levels when Malta came to Glasgow just days later, Scotland did the job again with a 2-0 win that set up a tense finale.

October 2017: Hopes rise then disappear in final showdown

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1399467-scotland-fail-to-reach-play-offs-after-draw-in-slovenia/ | default

Two more wins. After turning around a campaign that looked doomed, that's all it would take to guarantee second place in the group and a likely play-off place.

As Strachan announced his squad, even the absence of Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong through injury and a clamour to include Callum McGregor that seemed to irritate the manager couldn't dampen the enthusiasm for the challenge ahead.

Slovakia, 3-0 winners on their own patch, came to Hampden as formidable opponents but once again Strachan's team showed the patience, perseverance and determination to find another late goal. 

Martin Skrtel's own goal, scored under pressure from Chris Martin, set the nation up for an all or nothing trip to Slovenia.

Griffiths, who had emerged as a talismanic figure for the side after a lengthy wait to become first choice striker, scored a first half goal to put Scotland exactly where they wanted to be.

Things fell apart in the second half, however, as Slovenia regrouped. 

Two preventable goals left Scotland with a mountain to climb and though an equaliser was scored, no winner could be found.

Scotland were out and Strachan had presided over another failed campaign.

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1399741-gordon-strachan-to-leave-his-post-as-manager-of-scotland/ | default

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