Gordon Strachan’s reign as Scotland head coach has ended.
The Scottish Football Association announced that Strachan would not continue in the role after Scotland’s World Cup hopes ended with a 2-2 draw in Slovenia on Sunday.
A statement read: “The board of the Scottish FA and Gordon Strachan have agreed that the Scotland national team will be led by a new head coach in preparation for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. Gordon’s tenure will end with immediate effect along with that of his assistant coach, Mark McGhee.”
Strachan’s future came under serious consideration after his side took just four points from their first four matches in Group F, but they finished the campaign unbeaten in six matches, finishing third behind Slovakia on goal difference.
After an SFA board meeting at Hampden Park, the governing body said it was “agreed that a new national coach should be recruited to provide fresh impetus” and the announcement suggested the decision was mutual.
In the statement, Strachan said: “I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again. I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention.
“The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player who has come in to represent their country. Together we have shared some really magical moments and those memories will live with me forever.
“Of course, what made those moments special was the unwavering support of our fans. Through highs and lows you have stayed with the team and my biggest regret is not being able to provide the finals tournament you deserve.
“I would like to thank the board, the backroom staff and everyone at the Scottish FA for the help and support they have given me as national coach. It has been a real privilege.”
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan added: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Gordon for his excellent service to the national team. I know how disappointed he was that we couldn’t secure a play-off place but to come so close was a tribute to the belief he instilled in his squad.
“After almost five years the board felt it was time for a new direction to prepare for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and also the forthcoming UEFA Nations League.
“We are grateful to both Gordon and Mark for their efforts and wish them the best of luck in the future.”
SFA president Alan McRae, who has been a firm backer of Strachan, said after the meeting: “There is always disappointment, obviously. But at the end of the day, that’s it. It’s a new era.”
Thoughts will immediately turn to a successor with former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland boss David Moyes quickly emerging as favourite with several bookmakers.
Malky Mackay, the SFA’s performance director, has also been quoted along with the likes of Paul Lambert, Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes and former Scotland boss Alex McLeish, while there have been calls for the the governing body to make a bold bid for Northern Ireland’s Michael O’Neill.
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright earlier laughed off speculation linking him with the role.
“My agent must be doing well,” Wright joked. “I don’t know where it’s coming from, but I saw a list of some of the other names mentioned for the Scotland job… I feel quite humble about it.
“I’m concentrating on doing a job, Gordon Strachan has had a great end to the campaign and was unfortunate with the result they had in the last game. My focus is just totally on trying to get a result against Rangers.”