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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 17:24 GMT
Vogts had to pay price for failure
By Alasdair Lamont

Berti Vogts has been heavily criticised
Berti Vogts' decision to resign as Scotland manager will have been greeted by a sigh of relief in many quarters.

The German promised much when appointed ahead of the Euro 2004 qualifying campaign, but the general consensus is that he failed to deliver.

What is not yet clear is the extent to which he failed because of a lack of ability on his own part, or as a result of the dearth of talent available to him.

Few would dispute that the pool of players Vogts was able to pick from was as weak as any the Tartan Army has felt obliged to follow.

But while even the best of those players - Barry Ferguson to take an obvious example - were publicly supportive of Vogts, reports of bafflement in the dressing room did not go away.

Certainly members of the media were left wondering if their questions had actually been answered by the German, whose level of English, at news conferences, seemed to vary depending on how keen he was to respond.

The sight of players on the pitch signalling to the bench to check what position they were supposed to be playing was also a novelty of the Vogts era.

Nonetheless, when he took over, it was widely accepted that he was starting with a blank slate as a number of players retired at the end of Craig Brown's incumbency.

So, naturally, he had to try new - sometimes unheard of - players and new systems.

The decision to do that in friendlies against some of the world's strongest teams (France and Portugal) led to comprehensive defeats that immediately had some members of the media on his back.

But from the beginning, Vogts asked to be judged on his record in competitive matches.

He didn't get off to the best of starts - a 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands - though it could have been much worse as the minnows were 2-0 up and Barry Ferguson only equalised with three minutes to go.

But he achieved what most people would have expected in the qualifying group, namely a second-place finish behind Germany.

A proud win at home to the Netherlands in the first leg of the play-off quickly became a faint memory as the Dutch thrashed Vogts' "boys" 6-0 in Amsterdam.

That marked the beginning of the end for the manager in the eyes of many commentators, and a 4-0 friendly defeat by Wales in February 2004 led to calls to replace him before the current World Cup qualifying campaign.

Those were not heeded by the SFA board - some felt for financial reasons - and Vogts developed a knack of pulling off a decent result/performance just when he most needed one - witness the 1-1 draw in the abandoned game against Spain.

But the home defeat by Norway, which followed a goalless draw at Hampden with Slovenia, meant the clamour for Vogts' removal reached new levels.

For the past few weeks, it looked like he was certain to face the axe - and it will be small surprise to many that he appears ultimately to have jumped before being pushed.




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