Well it never went as planned last weekend. Gordon Strachan has now been relieved of his duties as Scotland coach and Malky MacKay is the interim coach. The usual suspects are being linked with the job including David Moyes, Paul Lambert, and Ally McCoist. Whoever gets the nod has a tough job on his hands. This is not a job for a young ambitious manager this is a job for a tried and experienced coach with new ideas.
One of the biggest mysteries in Scottish Football is how Tommy Wright is still at St Johnstone. He is a manager who has time and time again defied the odds and guided St Johnstone to european football year on year. St Johnstone are not a fashionable club and Tommy Wright is probably not a fashionable manager.
Tommy Wright started as a manager over in Northern Ireland and held a number of goalkeeping coach positions before joining Steve Lomas as his number two at Perth in 2011. Within two years Steve Lomas had made the Saints a top six team and regular European qualifiers. When Lomas moved on Tommy Wright stayed and stepped up to the role of first team manager. In this time he has achieved some impressive results including consistent qualification for Europe.
Tommy Wrights Managerial Record to Date
All in all it is not a bad record. But the stats only tell part of the story. This is a manager who has produced real results in big matches. In fact his first match in charge in 2013 he masterminded St Johnstone’s first away win in Europe against a club of proven European pedigree, Rosenberg. That season St Johnstone went onto to win the Scottish Cup. The first time in their history. No mean feat by any means. And where we measure success in football with silverware, it doesn’t do Tommy Wright justice. As St Johnstone are a smaller provincial club and tend to lose players every season to bigger clubs. This has resulted in Tommy Wright having to rebuild year on year. That is not an easy task especially in a league like the SPFL Premiership.
So why do I believe that Tommy Wright should get the Scotland job. We need someone who has a proven record of over achieving . Tommy Wright has done this for the last four years. He has achieved so much with what can be only considered as an average squad. His ability to turn players careers around should not be understated. Danny Swanson Murray Davidson and Michael O’Halloran are prime examples. These are players whose careers were faltering and yet Wright was able to get the best out of them.
In 2015 -2016 he won the Scottish Premiership manager of year award for a fourth place finish. It is this continuous high achievement which is so admirable. Some managers achieve success but are unable to maintain it, continuous success with scarce resources should not be understated.
If you watch St Johnstone they are an extremely tough and physically team to play against. They make the opposition work and are difficult to break down. Something that the Scotland National team has lacked in the last campaign. Tactically Tommy Wright is astute. Many claim it is due his career as a goalkeeper which has given him insight into the tactical nuances of the game. This was demonstrated well in a recent game against Celtic at Celtic Park. St Johnstone matched up tactically well with the Scottish Champions. This tactical awareness is a skill required by international managers as they have to make do with the players they have.
Tommy Wright will not be at the top of the bookies list to succeed Gordon Strachan. But he should not be discounted his domestic record is impressive. We need some one who can get the best out of the current crop of players and help build a successful national team by promoting new young players. He may well wear woolly jumpers and come from Northern Ireland but he has the experience we require. We need a long term strategy to regenerate the national team and Tommy Wright could well be that man.