ECK: THE END; SFA chief exec Maxwell set to step in and sack McLeish after Euro 2020 flop in Kazakhstan; 'Deeply troubling episode' ahead of San Marino clash sparks concerns over health; MAXY READY TO SACK ECK.
ALEX MCLEISH is set to be relieved of his duties as Scotland's manager over the next 24 hours.
Record Sport understands the manager will hold talks with chief executive Ian Maxwell today and be told he is to be taken out of the international firing line following the nightmarish double-header against Kazakhstan and San Marino. Maxwell has chosen to move swiftly amid growing concerns McLeish is struggling to cope with the stress of attempting to lead the national team to a first major finals in 22 years.
McLeish, who turned 60 in January, looked physically drained after seeing his side go down to a 3-0 thrashing at the Astana Arena last Thursday in a Euro 2020 qualifier that has been described as the single worst defeat in Scotland's pot-holed history.
Specifically, there was what is being described as a "deeply troubling episode" ahead of Sunday's error-strewn 2-0 win over the lowest ranked side in the world which has helped to convince Maxwell that McLeish's health is being adversely affected by the ferocious intensity of the job.
The ex-Rangers boss was already fighting just to hold on to his position despite successfully leading the country to a play-off for next summer's finals through the Nations League.
McLeish, selected as Gordon Strachan's successor 13 months ago by SFA president Alan McRae and vice president Rod Petrie, has struggled from day one to win the confidence of the players as well as the hearts and minds of the Tartan Army.
Around 3000 travelling fans booed his team off the pitch on Sunday night and vented their fury too on McRae, Petrie and Maxwell.
That result at least put three Scottish points on the board in Group I but the damage inflicted by the 117th-ranked Kazakhs has placed McLeish's side in a perilous position.
McLeish was always in danger after that humiliation but what was already a bleak situation has now been exacerbated and accelerated ahead of his imminent heart-toheart with Maxwell. Today's discussion was originally scheduled as a debrief, routine affairs between the manager and the chief executive after all Scotland matches.
But McLeish suspected he would be battling to hold on to his role before leaving Kazakhstan to head to San Marino.
Maxwell has yet to call an emergency board meeting but it's understood the rest of the directors are aware of his concerns over McLeish. It is expected they will be asked to officially rubberstamp the decision to part company with the manager as early as next week.
McLeish has travelled back to the family home in London as he awaits his fate. He will now depart from Scotland for a second time having lasted just 12 matches with a win rate of less than 50 per cent having been beset throughout by a series of big-name withdrawals and retirals from his squad.
It's understood many stalwarts from Strachan's time in charge felt they had been insulted when performance director Malky Mackay, in his capacity as caretaker manager, axed a raft of them for a friendly against Holland at Pittodrie in November 2017 despite going the year undefeated up until that point.
To compound matters, after that 1-0 loss, Mackay publicly insisted the players he had selected should form the core of the next manager's squad moving forward.
McLeish appeared keen to stick to that template but it cost him the services of a number of proven players. That left him relying on a largely untried and inexperienced group when his job was on the line last week.
TAKE OUR PICK Petrie, left, and McRae chose McLeish
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Mar 28, 2019|
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