Lorimer: Levein's reignited passion
Peter Lorimer believes boss Craig Levein has brought passion and belief back to the Scotland team and given them hope for the future. The Leeds legend - who earned 21 caps in the 1970s - admits there was a time when he did not even want to watch the national side in action.
But he has been impressed by the job Levein has done so far since taking over the helm from George Burley in December 2009. Lorimer said: "In the last couple of years, since Craig came in, I can see far more passion than I'd seen for quite a few years before. He is instilling the passion back in the team and belief.
"I'm now quite happy, when Scotland are playing, to say I'm watching the match this afternoon. It was getting to the stage where that wasn't the case and that's not nice. For the game it's not nice because you want Scotland to do well and you want people to be proud of watching Scotland playing. Certainly, I've seen more passion in the last couple of years and I think there has been a great improvement."
The Scots are aiming to end their lengthy exile from major tournaments by qualifying for UEFA EURO 2012 if they can secure second spot - and a crack at the play-offs - in their qualifying group. Most recently, they narrowly missed out on claiming the inaugural Nations Cup to host nation the Republic of Ireland in Dublin last month.
Lorimer added: "The players want to be playing if something is good and successful. A few years ago, watching Scotland playing, I didn't see a great deal of passion because I think the players weren't enjoying the way things were going. But I certainly see, since Craig took over, a total transformation in the attitude of the fans and the players. They look like they are enjoying it again."
Lorimer says having a Scotsman at the helm has been crucial in recent years, following the ill-fated tenure of German Berti Vogts. He said: "I'm a believer that, if you're Scottish, then the manager should be Scottish.
"I'm not a believer that foreign managers can come into a country and have the passion that's necessary to do the job and to let the players know just what you feel about your country. I think that's the most important thing."
Referring to England manager Fabio Capello, he added: "Capello is obviously a great manager and he has done well managing teams in Italy and elsewhere. But to manage England is a totally different thing. The style of play that he wants to play is a little bit negative and not great on the eye.
"When you go to watch a football match, you want to watch your team out there giving it everything they've got for the badge and for the country. I think foreign managers find it hard to establish that because they don't have that passion themselves."