AT what point does a debacle become a scandal? That’s the question Scottish football fans are beginning to ask as the SFA continues to dither and do SFA over the appointment of a manager for the national team.

It is now almost three months since Gordon Strachan stepped aside from the post after almost four years of trying very hard but ultimately failing to get Scotland to a major finals.

Since the SFA bosses will never sack themselves for failure to produce a team decent enough to play in a European Championships or World Cup finals, the Scotland manager is always going to get the blame for the lack of qualifying success which now stretches back 20 years.

Even if they attended as babes in arms, no one under the age of 21 can have seen Scotland play in the World Cup finals, as our last outing was in France in 1998. Since then we have been precisely nil times in a finals.

Now when a manager should be in place preparing Scotland for the task of qualifying for the 2020 European Championships which would see us based at Hampden for two group stage matches, the SFA continues to faff about.

There have been all sorts of stories about possible candidates, but the only official approach they have made, for permission to speak to Michael O’Neill of Northern Ireland, went no further, though admittedly the death of O’Neill’s mother may have played heavily on his mind before he committed himself to his present job again.

So what kind of manager should Scotland go far? Certainly it should be a Scottish manager or coach but someone with a different approach from the most recent incumbent.

Gordon Strachan’s latest unhelpful intervention in the Hampden debate saying that games should be moved elsewhere because the atmosphere was better at Celtic Park and Ibrox when Scotland played there simply deflects attention from his own failure as Scotland manager.

The Euro 2016 qualifying matches against Georgia at Ibrox and against the Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park are recalled as undoubtedly highly charged affairs, even though less than 35,000 fans filled Ibrox, but that was because Scotland won on both occasions.

Strachan’s Hampden gripe sounds like a very good diversionary tactic – blame the stadium, blame anybody except the main man responsible for the failure to make Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup finals.

Don’t get me wrong – if you don’t have the calibre of players necessary to achieve qualification straightforwardly then it’s not going to happen easily, if at all, and that is the problem for whoever replaces Strachan. We simply do not have the players to qualify comfortably, but with proper team selection, correct tactics and inspirational motivation then Scotland could make it to the big stage once again.

If you look at the record of current possible candidates for the job, then one man stands out – former manager Alex McLeish. He has the best record in decades for wins in competitive matches as Scotland boss – some 63 per cent compared to Strachan’s 43 per cent – and he has the respect of players and fans alike.

He wants the job but hasn’t even been interviewed despite his record. And three months on, that is an SFA scandal.