Scotland: Who could replace Shelley Kerr as manager?

Shelley Kerr
Shelley Kerr’s departure from the Scottish FA was announced on Christmas Eve

It is perhaps the most crucial managerial appointment in the history of the Scotland Women’s national side.

Shelley Kerr’s departure on Christmas Eve was the end of an era for the Scots, who qualified for their first World Cup under her guidance straight off the back of a European Championship appearance under Anna Signeul.

But with qualification gone for the next Euros, the attention now turns to who will be the person to take Scotland all the way to the World Cup in 2023.

BBC Scotland looks at possible candidates…

Andy Thomson

Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson stepped up in Kerr’s final matches due to Covid-19 protocols

Kerr’s assistant had to step up after Covid-19 protocols prevented the manager being involved in Scotland’s past two games. Both ended in 1-0 defeats but the performances were more than adequate with forward Lisa Evans praised Thomson’s approach.

The 49-year-old could be viewed as the continuity candidate as he is already known by the players and within the Scottish FA.

He was Kerr’s assistant with University of Stirling and his other coaching jobs include spells with University of Strathclyde and Edusport Academy. He played senior football in Scotland and England.

Debbi McCulloch

The past three managers of the Scotland team have been female and Spartans head coach McCulloch is the only woman currently managing a team in SWPL 1.

Forfar Farmington are currently sixth in the division under McCulloch’s guidance and she previously led the side to two League Cup finals and a runners-up spot in the league.

Speaking to BBC Scotland earlier this year, McCulloch described herself as “an intense manager” with “very high expectations”.

Scott Booth

Scott Booth
Former Scotland manager Scott Booth took Glasgow City to the last eight of the Women’s Champions League

The former Scotland striker may be regarded as the most obvious candidate from SWPL1 after guiding Glasgow City to the past five of their 13 consecutive league titles and the 2015 Scottish Cup.

Booth previously managed Stenhousemuir’s men’s team after playing in his homeland, Germany and Netherlands.

In European games, he has guided City to the last 32 of the Champions League on four successive occasions, reaching the last eight in the 2019-20 competition.

Pauline Hamill

Pauline Hamill
Pauline Hamill is the Scotland Women under-19s manager

Should the SFA wish to promote from within, the Scotland Women under-19 manager has been in her current role for three years and previously coached the u17s.

Hamill played 141 times for Scotland herself as well as north and south of the border and also Iceland.

She was in charge of the Scotland team when they participated in and hosted the 2019 Under-19 World Cup and so has some tournament experience, while Samantha Kerr and Amy Muir have graduated from Hamill’s team to the senior squad in recent times.

Similarly, Rangers assistant manager and head of their girls academy Kevin Murphy may also be in the frame, having been part of Kerr’s team at the World Cup.

Eddie Wolecki Black

Eddie Wolecki Black
Eddie Wolecki Black achieved sustained success at Glasgow City

Booth’s predecessor at City has vast experience coaching in the women’s domestic game and is currently in his second spell in charge of Motherwell Ladies after also coaching Celtic.

He won 12 trophies with Glasgow, including four league titles, and has also managed in the men’s game.

This season, Motherwell have struggled with only one win in seven but the amateur side are now operating in a league that is becoming more and more professional with Celtic and Rangers both full-time and Glasgow bringing international players in from overseas.

Willie Kirk

Willie Kirk
Willie Kirk’s Everton are mid table in the Women’s Super League

Everton manager Willie Kirk recently signed a new contract and would be an expensive option for the SFA, who have taken out a £5m loan amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

His side are mid-table in the Women’s Super League after 14 games.

Kirk won two trophies with Hibernian earlier in his managerial career and was voted Scottish women’s football manager of the year in 2013.

‘Dressing room is hurting’ – analysis

Scotland midfielder Leanne Crichton

Whoever is going to come in after Shelley, they’ve got a fair job on their hands because we’re a team that have underachieved in the last two years. We should be qualifying for the Euros, undoubtedly.

We’re a dressing room that’s hurting. There’s not just one reason why we’ve fallen short this time round. Male or female, it doesn’t matter who it is, it’s got to be somebody that can connect with the players and get the best out of them.

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