Alex McLeish: The numbers that led to the Scotland head coach departing

By Stefan Bienkowski BBC Sport Scotland

Alex McLeish's second stint in charge of Scotland is over after 12 matches and little more than a year.

The 1-0 loss to Costa Rica last March was the first of seven defeats; the underwhelming 2-0 win over San Marino was the last of five wins.

After replacing Gordon Strachan in February 2018, McLeish was under constant scrutiny to prove he could end the 22-year wait to qualify for a major finals. But the 60-year-old will now not get the chance to take Scotland to Euro 2020.

BBC Scotland takes a look at the numbers behind his tenure.

New world order

McLeish deserves some credit for winning a group including Israel and Albania to reach the Nations League play-offs, but besides that, there has been very little to help Scotland push up the rankings. In fact, things have got worse.

When McLeish became Scotland manager in early 2018, the national team were ranked 32nd in the world. Since then, they have dropped as low as 44th, their current ranking.

In January 2017, the national team were in 67th place, wedged between Benin and Guinea-Bissau. Yet a run of eight games, in which they won four and drew three, hauled Strachan's side up to 32nd.

Scoring fewer & conceding more

To properly assess McLeish's record since returning to the post, we need to go a little further back and compare the national team's performances under his predecessors.

For example, Scotland averaged just 1.17 goals per game in McLeish's second stint in charge. Not only was that considerably less than the average during his previous spell - 1.44 - but it is also the third lowest return since Scotland last reached a major tournament.

What was perhaps even more concerning was that Scotland were conceding an average of 1.5 goals a game. Not only was this considerably worse than the 1.1 conceded under Strachan but also surpassed the rather abject performances under Craig Levein, George Burley and Berti Vogts.

More players, less consistency

McLeish's squads rarely had a settled feel either. He had injuries and call-offs to deal with and the national side was transitioning from one generation of players to the next, but after 12 games, there still seemed a lack of familiarity both among the players and in the teams he was picking from match to match.

As we can see above, McLeish called upon 46 players in his 12 games. Not only is that almost double the 26 he stuck with during his first stint in charge, but it was well on the way to surpassing the 58 that Strachan used during his four-year tenure.

In fact, when we break it down to different players called up per match, McLeish's average of 3.83 is still considerably higher than Vogts' 2.48, despite the German's reputation for handing out caps.

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