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Sunday 20 May 2018

Fergie got me the job - McLeish

Happy: Alex McLeish
Happy: Alex McLeish

Alex McLeish believes fate played its part in him becoming Scotland manager for the second time after first-choice candidate Michael O'Neill rejected an approach from the Scottish FA.

The 59-year-old had a 10-game stint in charge in 2007.

The SFA had originally approached O'Neill to become Gordon Strachan's successor but he decided to stay as boss of Northern Ireland, and McLeish is happy to get another chance.

"I see it as a bit of fate," said the former Scotland defender, who declared himself "thrilled" to be back in the Hampden hot seat with a contract until 2020.

"I see that as it was meant to happen. When Michael went in for talks you think he is going to take it because it is a fantastic job and Michael lives in this country. But he turned it down and that gave me a chance."

McLeish's appointment is not overwhelmingly popular among Scottish football fans with some of the Tartan Army still unhappy that his first stint ended with him walking away to take over at Birmingham.

However, the former Rangers boss believes he can win them over, saying: "Sometimes I thought would it never happen again for me, because of leaving, and the circumstances.

"I understand the divide of some of the supporters but I believe I am the right man to come back. I have to prove them wrong."

McLeish revealed he had the backing of his former Aberdeen boss, Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I always speak to Fergie - sorry Sir Alex - about football matters," he said. "He's obviously a very influential man. He's probably had a word with Alan (McRae, SFA president) and recommended me."

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