'Life cannot get much better' for Strachan
Published 12/06/2015 | 02:30
PG Wodehouse portrayed only half the picture when he produced his celebrated aphorism about the difference between a ray of sunshine and a Scotsman with a grievance. At times in his career, Gordon Strachan has been the epitome of Wodehouse's grumpy Caledonian.
Yesterday, though, the Scotland manager was enthralled by the sudden explosion of summer at his squad's training base on the banks of the Clyde. "All over the country, people are pointing at the sky and asking, 'What's that big yellow thing up there?'," he said, gazing at the vista of the Dumbartonshire hills on the other side of the river.
Certainly, Strachan's mood was as benign as the weather. On the run-up to tomorrow's Euro 2016 qualifier in Dublin, Strachan had the air of a man entirely at ease with his lot, which was not the case when he succeeded Craig Levein in 2013, amid a World Cup qualifying campaign that foundered almost before it had begun.
"If you asked me after the first three weeks, I'd have said, 'No, I hate this', but football's like anything else - when you start getting success, there is enjoyment. When you see people doing well, that makes a big difference," he said. "I'm excited about the game coming up. There's a wee bit of nervousness which you always have, which is great, but I don't think I can bracket how I'm enjoying this compared to different places I've been. It would be unfair to say I enjoy this or that more than something else.
"At this moment, I love working with these players and I love working with the coaching staff and everybody else."
Well, victory in the Aviva Stadium would undoubtedly crank Strachan's job satisfaction up several notches, given that a win for Scotland would all but put Ireland out of the equation in the remorselessly tough Group D.