Post-Strachan Years (2018)

Following Gordon Strachan's departure, the names mentioned for the Scotland manager's job were David Moyes, Paul Lambert, Alex McLeish, and even Sam Allardyce. Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, and Kilmarnock's Steve Clarke were also mentioned. Following Northern Ireland's defeat in the play-offs, Michael O'Neil became the strong favourite. Following talks with the SFA, he ruled himself out, even although it looked like the SFA had put all their eggs in one basket. Following this, the media was mentioning Walter Smith, but he also ruled himself out. This meant that ex-boss Alex McLeish was appointed on 15th February. McLeish's second tenure started with four defeats out of five, with Scotland only scoring one goal in a 1-0 victory over Hungary. The maiden Nations League started with a 2-0 victory at home to Albania, followed by a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Israel in Haifa. After only 2 competitive matches, fans were already calling for McLeish to go. When the next international break came round, 9 players withdrew from McLeish's squad, making people wonder what was going on with McLeish. An impressive 4-0 victory in Albania meant that Scotland needed a victory at home to Israel. After going behind, a hat trick by James Forrest, which was 5 goals in two games, put Scotland in a strong position. A late goal by Israel made Scotland hold on for a tense last 15 minutes. This lead to qualification for the Euro 2020 playoffs and also promotion to Group B.

James Forrest completes his hat-trick against Israel.