sport

Caldwell: Strachan a great choice

Gary Caldwell was glad the Scottish Football Association got their man after hailing Gordon Strachan as the "stand-out choice" for the job.

Strachan was immediately installed as the bookmakers' favourite when Craig Levein was relieved of his duties by the SFA in early November, before his appointment earlier this month.

Having already worked with the new national team coach during their time together at Celtic, Caldwell is confident the right man to succeed Levein is now in place.

The Scotland and Wigan defender said: "I had a great relationship with him at Celtic and spent three great years with him."

"He's a great choice for Scotland and I think he was the only choice, really, when you see the people who were up for it."

"He was definitely the stand-out choice and I'm glad the SFA have got him."

"He will bring a real passion to Scotland. You could see in his press conference how proud he was to get the job, it means a lot to him."

Levein retained the backing of his players - if not his bosses - despite a poor start to the World Cup qualifying campaign.

And Caldwell is confident the same commitment will be shown to Strachan by his newly-inherited squad, who he believes must now look to the future.

He said: "Craig understands football, he knows players have to get on with the job."

"We all respected him and had a great time under Craig but he will know we now have to focus our efforts on the new manager and give everything we can to him, like we gave everything to Craig."

"Sometimes it just doesn't work out in football. I'm sure he will be back in a job soon and I'm sure he will be our biggest fan and supporting us to do well."

He added: "I think Craig did a good job. The results we've had so far have been disappointing but a manager will tell you he puts a team out and it's up to the players to get the results."

"The players just fell short at the start of the campaign and that's why Craig lost his job. Craig was doing a great job and I'm sure Gordon will know that.

"He will see a good nucleus of players that he can pick from and he will just try to bring his own methods, his own ideas, to tinker the team, to maybe change formations and do a bit of coaching with us that will improve us and make us a better team."

"There's not a lot that needs to be changed, I don't think, but I'm sure he will have his ideas about what to do."

Scotland sit bottom of Group A after taking just two points from their opening four games.

But, like Strachan, Caldwell has refused to give up hope of a place at the World Cup finals in Brazil just yet.

Speaking in Stirling as he was unveiled as the first Tesco Bank Community Ambassador, Caldwell said: "I wouldn't count it out. I don't think you ever count it out in football."

"You look at the next three games before the end of the season and you would realistically have to win all of them."

"If you did that, you would be right back in the group."

"I don't think the manager or the players will count out qualification just yet while it's still possible."