Weir offers Levein backing

David Weir believes things have “conspired against” Scotland

recently and does not think a change of manager is needed.

Weir forms a link between the last Scotland side to appear on

the world stage and the current team having been a member of the

1998 World Cup squad and played under Craig Levein.

Now retired, Weir does not think there is anything to be gained

by changing the manager despite qualification for Brazil 2014

looking a near impossible task after defeats by Wales and Belgium

left Scotland with two points from four games.

“We should expect better results but there is such a fine line

between winning and losing,” said Weir, who was back in Glasgow to

hand out prizes at the Bank of Scotland Midnight League Player of

the Year day.

“There is no better example than the Wales game. We were winning

1-0, relatively comfortable, scored another great goal and the game

was probably finished. The goal gets disallowed and Wales go up the

other end and score and we end up losing the game.

“To qualify you need everything to conspire for you.”

The Scottish Football Association decision-makers are due to

discuss the poor start to the 2014 qualification campaign in the

week after this one.

With a record of three wins in 12 competitive matches, most fans

appear to want Levein out to give the team a shake-up and a new

manager time to settle in before the Euro 2016 campaign.

Weir said: “It is difficult but the players obviously do believe

in the manager and believe what he’s preaching to him and his

structure, and that goes a long way. Things have conspired against

us, we have probably not had the rub of the green.

“Ultimately everyone knows you are judged on results. But I

don’t think you can question the detail the manager has gone into

and the atmosphere he has created, and he has got the best players


“It’s very difficult to qualify but he seems to have got the

players behind him and is doing the best job he can.”

Debate over the double defeat has also focused on youth football

with SFA performance director Mark Wotte warning his changes will

take four to six years to come to fruition while blaming some of

Scottish football’s ills on diet and lifestyle choices,

specifically burgers and fortified wine.

Weir moved to the USA to stop his career ending before it began,

with a football scholarship paving the way for a long career with

Falkirk, Hearts, Everton and Rangers and he admits he would not

have achieved this if he had stayed in Scotland.

“I definitely wouldn’t have done,” he said. “I know that for a

fact. Mine was obviously a very different pathway from the majority

of pathways and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“It was unconventional in the respect I went to America when I

was 17/18 because I wasn’t perceived to be good enough at the time.

I went away and probably grew up and learnt a lot, and came back

and had to start at the bottom of the ladder again.

“It worked out well for me, it probably wouldn’t work for

everyone. Everybody has got a different pathway and it’s important

kids realise that.

“It’s not just about being the best player at nine, 10, 11 or 14

and 15. It’s about developing as a person and a player.”

Weir now works in the coaching department at Everton having

finished his career at Rangers helping the young players through

and he believes the system has improved markedly since his teenage


“When I was growing up in youth football, it was jumpers on the

grass and go and play,” he said. “There is definitely more

organisation and thought being pout into it.

“Time will tell whether it’s successful but I don’t think you

could criticise anyone for lack of effort or lack of time spent

thinking what the best way forward is.”

And he feels blaming Scotland’s diet and drink culture for the

declining football success is too simplistic.

“You don’t want to create robots and people who have no

personalities, and are just channelled through one particular area

and haven’t got a little bit of an edge or something special about

them,” Weir said. “Obviously the burgers and the Buckfast aren’t

the way forward but I don’t think it’s quite as black and white.

You can’t change a nation’s culture overnight either.

“There are things being put in place and I think we are better

educated in that respect now. Society in general realises that diet

and a healthy lifestyle helps produce better football players and

healthy lives in general, but it has taken time to sink in.”