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THE SFA are facing an agonising decision over whether to appoint a foreign boss ahead of a Scotsman to replace Craig Brown.

Bruce Rioch remains the only home grown boss still in the race after Hampden bosses cut the short-list to four candidates.

And as Mirror Sport revealed last Saturday, former Scotland skipper Rioch is the main rival to long time favourite Berti Vogts.

Rangers though have unwittingly boosted former Arsenal manager Rioch's chances by appointing another Scot, Alex McLeish, as their new boss earlier this week.

The Ibrox club's decision has switched the recent trend towards foreign bosses as managers.

Vogts and Rioch remain top of a short list which also includes Japan's French coach Philippe Troussier and former Parma boss Nevio Scala.

Scala, like Rioch, is free

to take up the job immediately, while Scotland would not be able to secure Troussier's services until after next year's World Cup.

And while the SFA could appoint a temporary manager for the next six months, it seems unlikely they will wait that long to get their new man in place with the Euro 2004 draw just a month away.

Troussier, though, is keen to throw down a strong challenge to Vogts and Rioch.

He said: "I have already declared that I will not stay in Japan after the World Cup. I have said that so everybody knows that I am looking for another job.

"If any offer from the SFA comes after the World Cup it would be a great challenge to me.

"I would like to decide on my next job as early as January if possible. The sooner the better.

"I think Scotland has such a great history and has a great reputation as a team. I feel honoured to have been listed as a candidate for the job by the SFA.

"I think it is the kind of evidence that the job I am doing with the Japan national team is highly valued by people overseas."

Scala also revealed his hand and disclosed that he had "recently" held talks with the SFA.

He said: "The role of Scotland coach is seen as an important job, not only in Scotland, but outside of the country as well.

"And, of course, if I got the job I would move to Scotland.

"I don't think language would be a problem. I have been working in Turkey where I have spoken in a mix of Italian and German and I do have some English."

But while the Frenchman and the Italian are talking up their chances, Mirror Sport understands the real race is still between the Scot and the German.

The SFA want to make the appointment before the January draw and Vogts is still under contract to the Kuwaitis.

So it could be the dark horse Rioch, heavily endorsed by previous Scotland bosses Andy Roxburgh and Brown, could yet win the race.


INTEREST: Donald Troussier
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2001
Previous Article:Football: SHEARER CHASES BIG HIT.
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