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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

McLeish happy to stay with Scotland, for now

Alex McLeish insists he has no immediate plans to walk away from the Scotland job after their Euro 2008 hopes were shattered at the weekend.

A 2-1 defeat to world champions Italy at Hampden on Saturday signalled the end of what has been an incredible journey for the Scots.

With no European Championships to look forward to next summer, the spotlight turned to McLeish's own future after he was linked with both Wigan and Bolton recently.

He has already stated a desire to work in the Barclays Premier League one day but said: 'I am happy in the job just now.

'I really enjoy it - I enjoy working with the players and the backroom staff. But you know how football is - it's the type of business where you can never say it is going to be a definite.

'At the moment I am very much committed to Scotland. I don't think this is the time to talk about that stuff.'

Asked what would happen if he received a club offer on the back of Scotland's success, he added: 'I don't think this is the day to talk about that.

'I'm gutted for my players, and for my staff, and for Scotland.'

A crowd of more than 51,000 remained after the final whistle to give the players a standing ovation as they made a lap of honour at the end of what has been an amazing, but ultimately heartbreaking, campaign.

And McLeish has revealed that some members of the squad were inconsolable in the dressing room afterwards.

'Their heads were down but they really appreciated the fans' appreciation of them,' he said.

'The players are gutted. It's human nature to be totally disappointed after a defeat like this, and some of the players could hardly talk after it, they were so disappointed.

'But I'm afraid we have to be absolutely brilliant against the Italians, rather than just very good.

'We move on right away. We've got a B game in midweek against the Republic of Ireland and we took that game on because we are looking to the future.'

Scotland may have failed in their quest to end a 10-year wait to participate at a major finals but have succeeded elsewhere. They now sit 13th in the FIFA world rankings and will be second seeds for next week's World Cup qualifying draw in Durban.

'Therein lies the next challenge,' said McLeish. 'We will now become a scalp for the nations seeded below us in the FIFA rankings.

'But we know that, so long as we keep this team spirit and work ethic, and keep these players at our disposal, then we will have a good chance.

'I'm not planning on wholesale changes for the new campaign. I'll wait and see and hear what the older lads think.

'I don't think we are going to think of writing anybody off at all. There is such great experience in the ranks as well as our youthful exuberance.'