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Strachan admits to Boro errors
GORDON STRACHAN thinks the mistakes he made at Middlesbrough will help him to lead Scotland to brighter times.
When Strachan left the Riverside Stadium in October 2010 he left Boro struggling towards the wrong end of the Championship table.
His 12-month reign on Teesside was a disaster and highlighted more so after his departure because his successor, Tony Mowbray, had no money to spend on the squad he inherited.
Strachan was given the freedom to spend more than £6m on the likes of Scott McDonald, Kris Boyd, Kevin Thomson and Stephen McManus.
And while McDonald, the team's leading scorer, and Thomson remain a crucial part of the squad this season, there is no disguising that the wages committed to such players' contracts hindered Mowbray's recruitment.
Strachan admitted for the first time last night that he rushed in to changing things at the Riverside after he was asked to take over the managerial reins from Gareth Southgate in October 2009.
When asked what style of football he would like Scotland to play following his appointment, Strachan said: "Ideally, the way I would like to play, that will not happen right away.
"I made that mistake at Middlesbrough. I made up my mind pretty quickly the football I wanted to play. What I should really have done is looked at the players that were already there, used a system for them, to allow me to progress on to that eventually."
His honesty impressed the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, Stewart Regan. He said: "He felt he went in to Middlesbrough and made too many changes too quickly and it didn't work out.
"He was very frank and candid about that and he explained he walked away without a penny of compensation because he didn't get it right. That for me shows a man of principle, a man who loves success but who recognises when it isn't working out."
Strachan's first match in charge will be against Estonia at Pittodrie on February 6. He has signed a contract with the Scottish Football Association which takes him through until the 2016 European Championships qualifiers.
The 55-year-old, who will live in the south of England during his tenure, does not think leading his nation is any harder than his others jobs in frontline management.
He said: "It is going to be difficult, every job is difficult. The Coventry job is difficult, Southampton, Middlesbrough, they are all difficult. You don't get an easy one but you can still enjoy it. But the idea is to make people happy and win games of football."
While Strachan turns his attention to reviving Scotland's fortunes, his successor at Middlesbrough continues to work on ways of bringing Premier League football back to the club.
Mowbray hopes to recover from back-to-back defeats in the Championship by claiming a much-needed three points at Leicester City on Friday night.
And he is hoping to have a triple fitness boost today. Marvin Emnes (hamstring), Andre Bikey (hamstring) and Justin Hoyte (hip) are all expected to resume training.
That will give the manager some extra options, particularly in defence after claiming just one clean sheet in their last six matches, contributing to falling ten points adrift of leaders Cardiff City.
Middlesbrough are hoping to retain the services of George Friend this month, despite interest from West Ham, West Brom and Stoke. There have been no offers made and no contact with any potential buyers.
*Middlesbrough's Under-21s secured a 3-1 win at Aston Villa yesterday.
Defender Christian Burgess put Boro ahead shortly before half-time with a neat header. But then he conceded the penalty 18 minutes from time for Daniel Johnson to slot in.
Jamie Clapham's team responded in the perfect manner. Jordan Jones, who made his first team debut ten days ago, scored a 20 yard stunner in the 84th minute. And then Luke Williams made sure of the points with a well taken free-kick.
Boro: Ripley; Bennett, Weldon, Oliver, Burgess, Jackson, Brobbel, Morris, Main, Edwards, Williams. Subs: Kneeshaw, Coddington, Jones, Fewster, Atkinson