Players ARE more likely to pull out of Scotland squad when things aren't going well, claims former national team boss

Former Scotland boss Craig Levein has claimed that players are more likely to skip international duty if the team isn’t doing well.

Steve Clarke addresses his squad at a Scotland training session at the Oriam in Edinburgh
Steve Clarke addresses his squad at a Scotland training session at the Oriam in Edinburgh

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme the former Hearts manager, who led Scotland between 2009 and 2012, paid tribute to current national team coach Steve Clarke and reflected on his own time in charge.

Levein said: "Lots of us have tried to get it right [with Scotland] and Steve Clarke is the first one to manage it.

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"One of the reasons I took the Scotland job - I was at Dundee United at the time and things were going really well so I hesitated a bit about leaving but I just couldn't turn it down - and my biggest thought was, 'if I can get this right, it would be hugely important for the country'.

"A lot have tried before and after me and haven't managed to do it and I'm just thrilled that Steve's managed to get it over the line.

"It feels like we've achieved something, but we've still got the big thing to look forward to."

But the former Dundee United boss also claimed that Scotland's recent good form will have made life easier for Clarke, with players less inclined to skip international duty.

Levein added: "Every Scottish manager would say that if the best 11, 12 or 13 players turn up then we've got a reasonable squad.

“Part of the problem is that, if you're not winning games, you get more call-offs. That's definitely the case.

"To go away with your national team and lose, and then go back into a dressing room down in England and get a bit of stick, it's not the nicest of things.

"I think sometimes, players who have small injuries don't turn up. I found that when things weren't going well, I was less likely to have my full squad there.

"Now, it's completely different. Because the chance is there to be involved in a major competition, everyone wants to be involved.

"That has been created by winning matches and Steve Clarke has been at the forefront of that because he's the one who has pulled everything together."

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