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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 17:28 GMT
Chick Young's view
Chick Young
By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent

It is less than a thousand days until the opening game of the 2010 World Cup finals. That's plenty time for Scotland to go through at least a couple of new managers.

The job seems to be about as stable as a new-born foal, with the Scottish FA turning into a temp agency. Walter Smith and Alex McLeish used the position to fill their gap year.

Dutch coach Marco van Basten with former Scotland boss Alex McLeish
Scotland need a new manager to meet the Netherlands

It was a racing certainty that Big Eck wasn't just filling his case for the trip to the World Cup draw in South Africa, he was packing his bag for a move to England's Premier League.

You can't blame him really. Would you resist the seduction of a 300% hike in your wages?

Now a few nutcases are firing salvos at the SFA for its refusal to crank up the money to meet the earnings available in England. Aye, very good.

That'll work. Like it did for the neighbours with their megabucks pay packet to Steve McClaren, a man who couldn't have spotted a winning Englishman at the Battle of Flodden.

The SFA is controlled by a sensible wee thing called a budget. And blowing it to kingdom come in blind panic is not the answer. It doesn't have money because Scotland haven't qualified for a major finals - at best - for 12 years.

It's Catch 22. We don't get the money to spend on a top gaffer until a top gaffer wins a World Cup qualifying group.

The SFA is as right to stand its ground in this matter as it is wrong about its enthusiasm for the Celtic Cup, an anachronism of a tournament that will be about as thrilling as stamp collecting. And philately will get you nowhere.

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This isn't even as exciting as the old Home Internationals, because England - rightly - have recognised that this is the Challenge Cup of international football.

At least in the old days Scotland were part of the headline event - Wembley or Hampden and head-to-head with the Auld Enemy.

In this new competition, the big fixture will be across the water as Northern Ireland and the Republic sort out their occasional differences on the football pitch.

The world has gone nuts actually. Fifa has, on the face of it, done the right thing by giving Africa a World Cup but then took the draw to a city - Durban - where the concierge at my hotel was so worried about my safety he wouldn't let me walk 100 yards.

Scotland are drawn in Group 9 at the World Cup qualifying draw
Durban proved a dangerous place for the World Cup draw

"Please sir, take a taxi," he kept saying. I got to the stage I was hiring one to cross the road and began to wonder about whether I might have to get the driver to negotiate his 1980 BMW 3 series into the lift and along the corridor to my room.

There's never a dull moment in Durban, let me tell you that. They have such a problem with street crime that, by comparison, Glasgow has a halo over it.

But maybe it will be all right by the summer of 2010. Actually, I grew to like it, it is Africa's turn after all, and I remember writing this kind of stuff about Mexico ahead of 1986 - and that tournament was fine and dandy.

Back then, we were searching for a manager.

It's funny how, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

SEE ALSO
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Scotland begin successor search
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McAllister rules out Scotland job
28 Nov 07 |  Football
Who will answer Scotland's call?
28 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Birmingham unveil McLeish as boss
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Pat Nevin on McLeish exit
27 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Who stands in Scotland's way?
26 Nov 07 |  Internationals


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