After failing to guide Scotland to victory in any of their first four World Cup qualifying matches, Craig Levein has been relieved of his duties as manager by the Scottish FA. Their last placed standing in Group A is understandable given the group's depth, but the lack of world class sides in the group had fans hoping that Scotland could qualify for the World Cup. They're eight points behind co-leaders Croatia and Belgium, and will struggle to make up that gap in just six matches.
The FA issued a statement on Levein's sacking and their process for finding a new manager, in which they stated that under-21 manager Billy Stark will take over the Scotland senior side on an interim basis. He will manage the team in their friendly against Luxembourg, after which the FA will look to name a permanent replacement for Levein.
"We are taking this decision with real sadness. Craig has worked hard to bring success, and has been thoroughly professional in his approach to the job. He has achieved a great deal with the team and in other areas, such as the Performance Strategy. However, he would be the first to agree that football is a results-driven business. For that reason we have relieved Craig of his duties with immediate effect ... After the Luxembourg match, the Board will meet to begin the process of identifying and recruiting the next National Coach to take us forward. We will give ourselves time, given our fixture schedule, to find the right person for the job."
Levein was under a lot of pressure coming into the qualifying campaign after a mediocre performance by Scotland in Euro 2012 qualifying. Following Scotland's 2-1 loss to Wales during the last international week, his fate appeared to be all but sealed. A 2-0 loss to Belgium in the following fixture was the final nail in the coffin.