Scotland: Players would respect Walter Smith, says James McFadden

James McFadden and Walter Smith
James McFadden and Walter Smith in 2005

Former Scotland forward James McFadden believes Walter Smith would command the respect of the current squad if he returned to manage the national team.

Smith is one of up to eight names currently under consideration by the Scottish FA.

Gordon Strachan left the Scotland job in October and Malky Mackay was in charge for the November friendly defeat by Netherlands.

"We were organised under Walter Smith," said McFadden, who won 48 caps.

"We fought against the odds and we won games that we didn't expect to or weren't expected to win.

"He hasn't managed for a long time but he still has that respect and that level that if he comes in, the players will respect him and want to work for him."

The SFA were unsuccessful in their attempts to appoint Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, who subsequently agreed to extend his contract with the Irish Football Association.

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Why did Michael O'Neill turn the Scotland job down?

"Even when Michael O'Neill was the preferred candidate, if you like, there was always detractors and there will be," McFadden said.

"The proof will be when the new manager comes in, whoever it is, if we start winning games and get to tournaments. That is all we need.

"There's going to be pros and cons for whoever's in charge."

Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke has also been linked with the role and former Motherwell and Everton player McFadden believes the 54-year-old could work for club and country in the short term.

Steve Clarke
Former West Brom and Reading boss Clarke has been with Killie since October

Scotland have friendly matches planned against Costa Rica and Hungary next month then Peru and Mexico in June.

"If Steve Clarke's offered the job, it could work until the end of this season," said McFadden. "He could say, 'I'll stay on at Kilmarnock and we'll plan for the games coming up'.

"But beyond that, I don't think it's an option."

And McFadden believes SFA performance director Mackay - the third man to be in the youth development role since its creation in 2011 - should not be the next Scotland manager.

"If he's performance director, he's got to be there to oversee his plan that he's put in place," added McFadden.

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