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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Levein sacked by Scotland

Craig Levein has been sacked as the manager of Scotland with the country sitting bottom of Group A in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Levein, 48, was set to announce his squad for next month's friendly in Luxembourg on Tuesday, but a seven-man Scottish Football Association board met at the end of last week and came to a decision on Monday.

Scotland have only won three of their 12 competitive matches with Levein in charge, but the Dunfermline-born boss had refused to resign and was given the full backing of his players.

However, a statement was released on Monday night which stated: "The Scottish FA tonight announces that Craig Levein has been relieved of his duties as Scotland National Coach.

"The Board of the Scottish FA has taken the decision primarily due to the disappointing results in the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Qualifiers, which have culminated in Scotland being bottom of the group after four matches.

"In arriving at this decision, the Board was cognisant of Craig's stated intention – expressed to the President and Chief Executive - to leave the job at the end of the current FIFA World Cup campaign. The Association stresses that it will honour Craig's contract."

Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive, said: "We are taking this decision with real sadness. Craig has worked hard to bring success, and has been thoroughly professional in his approach to the job. He has achieved a great deal with the team and in other areas, such as the Performance Strategy. However, he would be the first to agree that football is a results-driven business.

"For that reason we have relieved Craig of his duties with immediate effect. Billy Stark will take interim charge of the team for the friendly against Luxembourg. There will be a short delay in announcing that squad, which Billy will select, and we have informed the Luxembourg FA of this development.

"We will shortly announce an interim replacement for the Under-21 squad ahead of their match against Portugal next week. After the Luxembourg match, the Board will meet to begin the process of identifying and recruiting the next National Coach to take us forward. We will give ourselves time, given our fixture schedule, to find the right person for the job.

"The challenge for the squad now is to improve our position in Group A and, subsequently, improve our position in the FIFA rankings. We also must begin preparations for the UEFA European Championships in France in 2016, which for the first time will have 24 qualification places available."

Former Celtic and Southampton manager Gordon Strachan is now favourite to take over the position with plenty of time to prepare before hosting Wales on March 22 in their next qualifier, while Scotland Under-21 coach Billy Stark will take temporary control.

Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam later blamed the press and wrote on his official Twitter account: "On my way back to hear Craig Levein has gone. Unbelievable. Can't believe the Scottish papers got what they wanted.''

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