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Titter ye not .. we could be out on our ears next; EVERY GOAL .. EVERY GAME .. EVERY MONDAY If Scotland's dream of making it to the next European Championship is ended we'll be in a world of pain - but if we fail to recognise the strides made under Strachan it would result in an even bigger disaster.

Byline: Keith Jackson

THERE'S not much sympathy being thrown in the direction of English rugby right now but perhaps it would be smarter to keep our powder dry a few more days.

Granted, it's always fun to have a laugh at the expense of our nearest and dearest. And true, if these goons don't mind wearing their ears inside out surely they must be big enough and ugly enough to deal with a bit of cross-border banter.

But hold on. What kind of nation would we be if we weren't willing to lend a shoulder during difficult times? Or offer some kind of action plan to help them through? Quite clearly, English rugby is broken.

You didn't need to be an expert to see it on Saturday night when a bunch of brutes from Australia knocked the XXXX out of them all over Twickenham. You didn't need to have been brought up hay-baling in the Borders or Oxbridging in the heartlands to see what was going on.

It's as plain as the snout on your dead pig's face. England need help.

So the least we can do is offer assistance.

If they need someone to oversee rugby's big rebuild let's do the decent, neighbourly thing. Let's give them Stewart Regan.

And let's do it today because by the end of this week Scottish football could be facing a crossroads of its own. And given his history of car-crash administrating, surely it would be better for all concerned if Regan was removed from the driving seat before we arrive there? Let him go and get his hands on someone else's balls because this man has been bursting ours for long enough.

The thought of where he might lead us next if things should go badly for Gordon Strachan on Thursday night is truly terrifying. Which is precisely why we should all be stifling our sniggers for a little while yet.

Yes, England getting kicked into touch from their own egg-chasing tournament might be good for giggles. But one wrong move in these next few days and Scotland's dream of making it to the European Championship could be over. And we'll not be laughing then.

We'll be in a world of pain. A tartan tidal wave of hurt and humiliation, left to confront a question that, if not answered correctly or if mishandled by the top brass, could result in many more years of misery ahead.

In the event of the worst-case scenario what exactly is to be done with Strachan? Make no mistake, there will be a clamour for the manager's head if this campaign collapses in a third successive Group D defeat at home to the Poles.

There are some who simply cannot take to Strachan and have been waiting for the first excuse to have a go at him.

They were gunning for him after the back-to-back losses against Georgia and Germany. And they'll be out again, in even greater numbers, if this group is over before we've boarded the flight to Faro for one final pointless gimme against Gibraltar on Sunday night.

Will the incredibly think-skinned Regan be strong enough to resist them? And, here's another thing, what if Strachan feels his work here is done? Would the chief executive, who is unconvincing in almost everything he does, be persuasive enough to talk him into a change of heart? It may all by hypothetical, of course. Fingers crossed. With a bit of luck Scotland will rise up on Thursday night and secure the victory that will almost certainly mean a third-place finish. And Strachan's adventure can continue. But even so, these are questions of enormous importance because the thought Strachan might be within two games of packing it all in is deadly serious.

There have been whispers around Fir Park his right-hand man Mark McGhee is being viewed favourably as a contender for the Motherwell job. Is this a clue to the way Strachan is feeling? Does McGhee know something the rest of us don't? He may created Ant Hill international football has faith Yes, Strachan will come in for stick if Scotland blow up now and much of the criticism will be valid and fair. Mistakes have been made by the manager and his team and ultimately they must shoulder these little responsibility. Not qualifying for the biggest ever European Finals - or at least reaching a play-off - would feel like a fairly catastrophic fail.

But a failure to acknowledge the strides Scotland have made under this manager would constitute an even greater disaster. Because if Strachan is forced out - or is allowed to walk away - all the excellent repair work he has done to this team might be undone.

Is there another manager anywhere in the game who would be so bold as to play Shaun Maloney, Ikechi Anya, James Forrest and Steven Naismith in the same Scotland team? Yes, Strachan may have created the Ant Hill Mob of international football but he has faith in these little men to take care of the football and that's probably because he did it so capably back in the day.

have the Mob of He might just be the only manager in football who doesn't look upon their collective lack of inches as a deal breaker.

but he in Scotland have been all the better for it. Slicker, faster and cleverer. Better than anything in dark blue since Strachan was wearing the shirt himself.

men Win on Thursday and Strachan won't just spare himself. He might be sparing us all.

He may have created the Ant Hill Mob of international football but he has faith in these little men


EGG ON THEIR FACES England skipper Chris Robshaw is distraught and a fan, right, is stunned after the Rugby World Cup hosts are sent crashing out of the tournament by rampant Australia
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 5, 2015
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