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SFA agree Levein deal for Scotland job

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) said Wednesday they had agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Craig Levein to become Scotland manager.

But the contract has not yet been signed due to adverse weather conditions. However, if Dundee United boss Levein can travel down from his Fife home to Hampden Park, Scotland’s Glasgow home ground, the SFA plan to hold a news conference later on Wednesday.

Earlier, Dundee United said that, subject to confirmation of compensation from the SFA, Levein would be succeeding George Burley, sacked as Scotland manager after last month’s 3-0 friendly international defeat by Wales.

Levein himself told United’s website he was on his way to the national job.

“While it is a great honour to be asked to manage your country, it was a very difficult decision to leave Dundee United,” he said.

“I have, and will continue to have, a great affection and respect for the club and its supporters, who have given me such strong support from the day I arrived.

“I also leave behind a great bunch of players and a strong backroom staff and I know the club is in good hands.

“I wish them and Dundee United well for the future.”

Levein, 45, has been the favourite to succeed Burley since Rangers manager Walter Smith ruled himself out of a return to the Scotland job.

But his move from Tannadice appeared to be foundering Tuesday on the issue of compensation, with United chairman Stephen Thompson saying the club had been treated “shabbily” by the SFA.

However, Thompson confirmed Wednesday that United were seeking a new manager to replace Levein and that Peter Houston will act as caretaker boss, assisted by Gary Kirk, until a permanent replacement for Levein is appointed.

“It is with great regret and disappointment that I confirm Craig Levein is leaving Dundee United,” Thompson said.

“While we always knew he would move on to a bigger job and are flattered that the job he has done here has brought him to the attention of the national team, we’re neverthless very disappointed Craig is leaving us at this time. “However, he leaves with our gratitude and best wishes for the future.”

Thompson added: “We now move on and look to our own future…we won’t be rushing into appointing someone else, we’ll take our time and look at all the options.”

Burley was dismissed last month after a Wales defeat which followed Scotland’s failure to reach the play-offs for a place in next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

Levein, a former Scotland international whose playing career was ended prematurely by injury, made his reputation as a manager with a successful 2000-04 spell in charge of Hearts.

A brief, unhappy stint as manager of English Championship side Leicester followed and Levein returned to management in Scotland with Raith Rovers before taking over at Dundee United in October 2006.

He guided the Tangerines to fifth place in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) last season and they are currently fourth in the table.

The SFA has indicated that it wants to have the new manager in place before the draw for the Euro 2012 qualifiers is made on February 7.

Scotland have not qualified for the final stages of a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.

Wed 23 December, 2009
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