Alex McLeish's Scotland future should not depend on Israel result - Steven Pressley

Scotland head coach Alex McLeish
Alex McLeish has been under pressure as Scotland head coach
Nations League, League C, Group 1: Scotland v Israel
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Tuesday, 20 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen live on Radio Scotland & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Alex McLeish's Scotland future should not hinge solely on the result against Israel in their Nations League decider, says former defender Steven Pressley.

Only a win at Hampden will secure top spot in Group C1, promotion and a Euro 2020 play-off spot.

But Pressley believes the Scottish FA should take a long-term view.

"For me, one of the most important things, and the research will tell you this, is continuity is vital to success and we have to stop changing," he said.

Pressley thinks that parting company with previous head coach, Gordon Strachan, was a mistake and has urged SFA performance director Malky Mackay not to make another switch so soon.

"As long as he can see enough in what Alex is doing that he believes he can move us forward then stick with him," he said told BBC Scotland's Sportsound. "If not, then change has to be considered.

"If he is showing signs of moving this national team forward then, regardless of tomorrow night's result, we must stick with that."

McLeish received criticism following a 2-1 defeat by Israel, then without a win in 10 games, in Haifa earlier in the Nations League campaign, a result that gave the 59-year-old him a record of two wins in seven matches since taking charge in February.

However, a thumping 4-0 win away to Albania on Saturday got Scotland back on track and Pressley thinks there is some sign of progress.

"The problem with international football is that you play so few games that the opportunity to find the right formula doesn't happen overnight," Pressley, who has 32 Scotland caps, said.

"Alex has gone through a process and has had some disappointments along the way, but maybe now, because of that experience, he's found a system that suits us best.

"That's why I'm saying a manager must have the opportunity to navigate his way out of a situation because that shows his true strength."

Win 'would end difficult period' - Hartley

Former Scotland midfielder Paul Hartley thinks the clouds that have hung over McLeish's tenure will disappear with a victory over Israel.

"It's been a difficult period and he's face a lot of criticism, but I think tonight will go a long way," he said.

"If Scotland win tonight then they top the group. That was the job he was given when he was appointed, so if we win tonight and top the group, there is no reason why the manager shouldn't continue."

Hartley, who won 25 caps for his country, thinks the team will go into the match at Hampden filled with confidence after the win in Albania.

"There's been a lot of negativity surrounding the country over the last couple of years, but we have given ourselves the opportunity to top the group," he said. "It's a really important game for us. We have to win."

Top Stories