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.”