Scotland needs sense of realism – and optimism – in the wake of ‘disappointing’ departure of Alex McLeish, says Stevie Crawford

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FORMER Scotland striker Stevie Crawford insists the nation needs ‘optimistic realism’ as he expressed disappointment at Alex McLeish’s exit.

The Dunfermline boss played under McLeish at Hibernian and turned out for the national team 25 times.

He believes McLeish will have been left ‘hurting’ by the decision to dispense with his services after just over a year in his second spell in charge.

However, as the country still dreams of its first major tournament in two decades, Crawford believes whoever is appointed as McLeish’s successor will not have a magic wand for the nation’s troubles.

He said: “It’s difficult, there’s politics in every manager’s job and decisions are questioned on an hourly basis, I think now, especially at that level.

“Alex is a great guy and very professional. He was great with me as a player when I worked with him at the under-21s and then in my time at Hibs, although I know that was a long time ago.

“It’s never nice to see somebody losing their job but, unfortunately, it’s the world we live in.

“As a person, he’ll be hurting, but he’ll take it with dignity. It’s sad to see him losing his job but it seems to be the case in this crazy world that you don’t get much time these days.

UTMOST RESPECT

“It’s disappointing when Alex hasn’t been in the job for that long.

“There’s talent but it isn’t an easy job with Scotland. With the 1998 World Cup being the last competition we qualified for there has to be a sense of realism.

“But we’ve also got to be optimistic and I’m sure the powers-that-be who have come to that decision will have names in mind for who they’re looking at bringing in next.

“It’s sad because I know what Alex is like as a guy, and I’ve got the utmost respect for him.”

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