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Alex McLeish

Alex McLeish

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Alexander "Alex" McLeish (born 21 January 1959), is a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 former professional footballer
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 and manager, who is currently managing English Premier League club Aston Villa
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Witton, Birmingham. The club was founded in 1874 and have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888. They were also founder...

. Born in Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, McLeish played as a central defender
Defender (football)
Within the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposition from attacking....

 for Aberdeen
Aberdeen F.C.
Aberdeen Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Aberdeen...

 during their 1980s glory years, making nearly 500 League appearances for the club, and won 77 caps
Cap (sport)
In sports, a cap is a metaphorical term for a player's appearance on a select team, such as a national team. The term dates from the practice in the United Kingdom of awarding a cap to every player in an international match of association football...

 for Scotland
Scotland national football team
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. Scotland are the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872...

.

He started his managerial
Head coach
A head coach, senior coach or manager is a professional at training and developing athletes. They typically hold a more public profile and are paid more than other coaches...

 career with spells at Motherwell
Motherwell F.C.
Motherwell Football & Athletic Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. The club compete in the Scottish Premier League and are one of only seven teams to have remained in this league since it was founded in 1998...

 and Hibernian
Hibernian F.C.
Hibernian Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Leith, in the north of Edinburgh. They are one of two Scottish Premier League clubs in the city, the other being their Edinburgh derby rivals, Hearts...

, before guiding Rangers
Rangers F.C.
Rangers Football Club are an association football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, who play in the Scottish Premier League. The club are nicknamed the Gers, Teddy Bears and the Light Blues, and the fans are known to each other as bluenoses...

 to two championships and five cup wins in five years. McLeish spent ten months as manager of the Scotland national team which narrowly failed to qualify for the finals of the 2008 UEFA European championship. He then resigned this post in November 2007 to become manager of Birmingham City
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

, who were in the Premier League at the time. Though Birmingham were relegated
Promotion and relegation
In many sports leagues around the world, promotion and relegation is a process that takes place at the end of each season. Through it, teams are transferred between divisions based on their performance that season...

 at the end of the season, McLeish guided them back to the Premier League in 2009, a ninth-place finish in 2010, and victory in the 2011 League Cup final
2011 Football League Cup Final
The 2011 Football League Cup Final was the final match of the 2010–11 Football League Cup, the 51st season of the Football League Cup, a football competition for the 92 teams in the Premier League and the Football League. The match was contested by Arsenal and Birmingham City, at Wembley Stadium in...

, before they were relegated once more at the end of the 2010-11 season. Following relegation he resigned his post at Birmingham to take up the reins at city rivals Aston Villa. This made him the first ever manager to move directly from Birmingham City to Aston Villa, and only the second manager after Ron Saunders
Ron Saunders
Ron Saunders is a retired English football player and former successful manager. He remains the only manager to have taken charge of Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion, normally bitter rivals....

 to manage both clubs.

In recognition of his distinguished service to Scottish sport, in 2008 McLeish was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

.

Early years


McLeish was born in Duke Street Hospital, Glasgow to parents Alex, a shipyard worker, and Jean. He has younger siblings Angela and Ian. After living in the Parkhead
Parkhead
Parkhead is a district in the East End of Glasgow. Its name comes from a small weaving hamlet at the meeting place of the Great Eastern Road and Westmuir Street. Duke Street and Springfield Road also meet there, to form a turreted Edwardian five-way junction at Parkhead Cross...

 and Kinning Park
Kinning Park
Kinning Park is a southern suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. In 1897 it had a population of 14326.-Political history:Originally a separate police burgh founded in 1871, it became part of Glasgow in 1905. It was the smallest such burgh in Scotland at just...

 districts of the city, the family moved to Barrhead
Barrhead
Barrhead is a town in East Renfrewshire, Scotland, southwest of Glasgow on the edge of the Gleniffer Braes. As of the 2001 census its population was 19,813....

, Renfrewshire
Renfrewshire (historic)
Renfrewshire or the County of Renfrew is a registration county, the Lieutenancy area of the Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, and one of the counties of Scotland used for local government until 1975. Renfrewshire is located in the West Central Lowlands of Scotland, south of the River Clyde,...

 soon after McLeish had reached school age. He attended Springhill Primary, Barrhead High School
Barrhead High School
Barrhead High School is a secondary school situated in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire. The school is over 25 years old and Mr A Sinclair is the current headmaster, appointed in June 2010...

, where he was one year below future Aberdeen and Scotland teammate Peter Weir
Peter Weir (footballer)
Peter Russell Weir is a former Scotland international footballer known for his time with club team Aberdeen F.C..-Playing career:...

, and John Neilson High School in Paisley
Paisley
Paisley is the largest town in the historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland and serves as the administrative centre for the Renfrewshire council area...

.

As a juvenile he played for Barrhead Youth Club, alongside Weir, and Glasgow United as well as training for a short period with Hamilton Accies
Hamilton Academical F.C.
Hamilton Academical Football Club, often known as Hamilton Academical, or Accies, are a Scottish football club from Hamilton in South Lanarkshire. They were established in 1874 from the school football team at Hamilton Academy. They remain the only professional club in British football to have...

. After a local cup final with Glasgow United in 1976 which was watched by a delegation from Aberdeen, including then manager Ally MacLeod
Ally MacLeod
Alistair Reid MacLeod was a Scottish professional football player. He is perhaps better known for his time as a football manager, which included being in charge of Scotland at the 1978 FIFA World Cup....

, McLeish signed for the Pittodrie club the following day.

Aberdeen years


McLeish spent the majority of his first two seasons at Aberdeen in the reserves and also had a loan spell at local Junior side Lewis United
Lewis United F.C.
Lewis United F.C. are a Scottish football club from the city of Aberdeen. Members of the Scottish Junior Football Association, they currently play in the SJFA North Superleague. Founded in 1942 as a Juvenile side associated with the John Lewis & Sons shipbuilders in Aberdeen, the club joined the...

. He made his competitive debut under Billy McNeill
Billy McNeill
William "Billy" McNeill MBE is a former Scottish footballer and manager. He is best known for captaining Celtic to the European Cup triumph in 1967 and he later went on to manage the club. He is now the official Club Ambassador at Celtic....

 in a New Year fixture against Dundee United
Dundee United F.C.
Dundee United Football Club is a Scottish professional football club located in the city of Dundee. Formed in 1909, originally as Dundee Hibernian, the club changed to the present name in 1923...

 on 2 January 1978. His first major final appearance was under the management of Alex Ferguson
Alex Ferguson
Sir Alexander Chapman "Alex" Ferguson, CBE is a Scottish association football manager and former player, currently managing Manchester United, where he has been in charge since 1986...

 as a substitute in a 2–1 defeat to Rangers in the 1978–79 League Cup. Over the next seven seasons however, he enjoyed great success winning eight domestic and two European trophies. Highlights included scoring in a 4–1 victory over Rangers in the 1982 Scottish Cup Final
1982 Scottish Cup Final
The 1982 Scottish Cup Final was played on May 22, 1982 at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Aberdeen and Rangers contested the match; the final of the 107th Scottish Cup. Aberdeen won 4–1, after extra time goals from McGhee, Strachan and Cooper.-Match details:...

 on his 200th Dons appearance and a European Cup Winners' Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was a football club competition contested annually by the most recent winners of all European domestic cup competitions. The cup is one of the many inter-European club competitions that have been organised by UEFA. The first competition was held in the 1960–61 season—but...

 win over Real Madrid
Real Madrid
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol , commonly known as Real Madrid, is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain. The club have won a record 31 La Liga titles, the Primera División of the Liga de Fútbol Profesional , 18 Copas del Rey, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 1 Copa Eva Duarte and 1 Copa de la...

 in 1983.

During this period, McLeish formed a formidable defensive
Defender (football)
Within the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposition from attacking....

 triumvirate with Willie Miller
Willie Miller
William Ferguson Miller, MBE is a former professional football player who made a club record 558 league appearances for Aberdeen. He is currently the club's Director of Football...

 and Jim Leighton
Jim Leighton
James "Jim" Leighton MBE is a Scottish former football goalkeeper. Among the clubs he played for are Aberdeen , Manchester United, Arsenal, Dundee and Hibernian.-Club:...

 for both club and country. When Ferguson left in 1986 to go to Manchester United
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.The 1958...

, he tried to get McLeish to sign, but it did not work out; he also had talks with Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club , commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English Premier League football club based in Tottenham, north London. The club's home stadium is White Hart Lane....

. He won the Scottish player of the year
Scottish Football Writers' Association
The Scottish Football Writers' Association is an association of Scottish football journalists and correspondents writing for newspapers and agencies, founded in 1965...

 in 1990, after a season in which Aberdeen won both domestic cups. He was captain of Aberdeen after the retirement of Willie Miller.

Even after he had won his first Scotland
Scotland national football team
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. Scotland are the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872...

 cap, McLeish's father asked then Aberdeen boss Alex Ferguson to persuade him to continue training as an accountant
Accountant
An accountant is a practitioner of accountancy or accounting , which is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities and others make decisions about allocating resources.The Big Four auditors are the largest...

.

Winners medals as Aberdeen player

  • European Cup Winners Cup 1982–83
  • European Super Cup
    European Super Cup
    The UEFA Super Cup is an annual football game between the reigning champions of the two cup competitions organized by UEFA: the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League...

     1983–84
  • Scottish Premier League
    Scottish Premier League
    The Scottish Premier League , also known as the SPL , is a professional league competition for association football clubs in Scotland...

     1979–80, 1983–84, 1984–85
  • Scottish Cup
    Scottish Cup
    The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup,, commonly known as the Scottish Cup or the William Hill Scottish Cup for sponsorship purposes, is the main national cup competition in Scottish football. It is a knockout cup competition run by and named after the Scottish Football Association.The...

     1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1989–90
  • Scottish League Cup
    Scottish League Cup
    The Scottish League Cup is a football competition open to all Scottish Football League and Scottish Premier League clubs. At present it is also known as the Scottish Communities League Cup owing to the sponsorship deal in place with the Scottish Government. In the past it has been sponsored by...

     1985–86, 1989–90

International career


McLeish is Scotland's third most capped player, having gained 77 international caps between 1980 and 1993. He was first capped for the Scotland U-21 team while still a reserve player at Aberdeen by his former club manager Ally MacLeod, eventually gaining six caps at that level. His full international debut came on 26 March 1980 against Portugal
Portugal national football team
The Portugal national football team represents Portugal in association football and is controlled by the Portuguese Football Federation, the governing body for football in Portugal. Portugal's home ground is Estádio Nacional in Oeiras, and their head coach is Paulo Bento...

, manager Jock Stein
Jock Stein
John 'Jock' Stein CBE was a Scottish association football player and manager. He became the first manager of a British side to win the European Cup, with Celtic in 1967...

 playing him in midfield alongside Archie Gemmill
Archie Gemmill
Archibald "Archie" Gemmill is a Scottish former footballer, most famous for a goal he scored against the Netherlands in the 1978 FIFA World Cup...

 and Graeme Souness
Graeme Souness
Graeme James Souness is a Scottish former professional football player and manager.Souness was the captain of the successful Liverpool team of the early 1980s and player-manager of Rangers in the late 1980s as well as captain of the Scottish national team. He also played for Tottenham Hotspur,...

. He played in three World Cups
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 with Scotland
Scotland national football team
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. Scotland are the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872...

, in 1982
1982 FIFA World Cup
The 1982 FIFA World Cup, the 12th FIFA World Cup, was held in Spain from 13 June to 11 July. The tournament was won by Italy, after defeating West Germany 3–1 in the final.-Host selection:...

, 1986
1986 FIFA World Cup
The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format. Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to do so and officially...

 and 1990
1990 FIFA World Cup
The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event twice. Teams representing 116 national football associations from all six populated...

. He is a member of both the Scottish Football Hall of Fame
Scottish Football Hall of Fame
The Scottish Football Hall of Fame is located at the Scottish Football Museum. Inductees are picked each year by fans and a committee selects the eight finalists who are inducted at an annual dinner....

 and the Scotland national football team roll of honour. On the occasion of his 50th cap, against Luxembourg
Luxembourg national football team
The Luxembourg national football team is the national football team of Luxembourg, and is controlled by the Luxembourg Football Federation. The team play most of their home matches at the Stade Josy Barthel, in Luxembourg.- History :...

 in 1987, McLeish was appointed team captain for the game.

Motherwell


After his successful playing career he quickly went into football management with Motherwell
Motherwell F.C.
Motherwell Football & Athletic Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. The club compete in the Scottish Premier League and are one of only seven teams to have remained in this league since it was founded in 1998...

 in 1994, one year before he retired as a player. His first season at Motherwell saw him take the Lanarkshire club to second in the Premier League behind Walter Smith
Walter Smith
Walter Smith, OBE is a Scottish football manager. His most recent job was at Scottish Premier League club Rangers.Smith had a relatively modest playing career, consisting of two spells with Dundee United which was split by a short time at Dumbarton.A pelvic injury meant he moved in to coaching at...

's Rangers
Rangers F.C.
Rangers Football Club are an association football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, who play in the Scottish Premier League. The club are nicknamed the Gers, Teddy Bears and the Light Blues, and the fans are known to each other as bluenoses...

. However, he failed to build on this success and the next two season were spent in relegation battles. He resigned as manager to take over at Hibernian
Hibernian F.C.
Hibernian Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Leith, in the north of Edinburgh. They are one of two Scottish Premier League clubs in the city, the other being their Edinburgh derby rivals, Hearts...

 in 1998.

Hibernian


McLeish took over a struggling Hibernian side, which was relegated from the Scottish Premier Division in 1998 despite a slight upturn in fortunes under McLeish. He then guided the Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 team back to the Scottish Premier League
Scottish Premier League
The Scottish Premier League , also known as the SPL , is a professional league competition for association football clubs in Scotland...

 at the first attempt by winning the First Division
Scottish Football League First Division
The Irn-Bru Scottish Football League First Division Championship is the highest division of the Scottish Football League and the second highest in the Scottish football league system....

 championship.

Hibernian consolidated in their first season back in the top division, finishing mid-table and reaching the Scottish Cup
Scottish Cup
The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup,, commonly known as the Scottish Cup or the William Hill Scottish Cup for sponsorship purposes, is the main national cup competition in Scottish football. It is a knockout cup competition run by and named after the Scottish Football Association.The...

 semi-final. In the 2000–01 season, Hibs started very strongly. Eventually they had to settle for third place and a Scottish Cup final appearance. This performance attracted the attention of bigger clubs, including West Ham United
West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Upton Park, Newham, East London. They play in The Football League Championship. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks FC and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. In 1904 the club relocated to their current...

 and Rangers.

McLeish attracted top players such as Russell Latapy
Russell Latapy
Russell Nigel Latapy is a Trinidad and Tobago footballer who plays for Edinburgh City as an attacking midfielder.In a senior career which spanned more than 20 years at both club and international level, he played in Portugal and Scotland .Latapy...

 and former French
France national football team
The France national football team represents the nation of France in international football. It is fielded by the French Football Federation , the governing body of football in France, and competes as a member of UEFA, which encompasses the countries of Europe...

 international Franck Sauzée
Franck Sauzée
Franck Sauzée is a former French international footballer and manager. He played 39 times for the French national team between 1988 and 1993, scoring nine goals and captaining the team several times...

 to Hibs. He also helped develop young striker Kenny Miller
Kenny Miller
Kenneth "Kenny" Miller is a Scottish footballer who plays as a striker for Cardiff City and the Scotland national football team...

, who would later go on to play for Rangers, Wolves
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is an English professional association football club that represents the city of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands region. They are members of the Premier League, the highest level of English football. The club was founded in 1877 and since 1889 has played at...

, Celtic
Celtic F.C.
Celtic Football Club is a Scottish football club based in the Parkhead area of Glasgow, which currently plays in the Scottish Premier League. The club was established in 1887, and played its first game in 1888. Celtic have won the Scottish League Championship on 42 occasions, most recently in the...

, Derby County
Derby County F.C.
Derby County Football Club is an English football based in Derby. the club play in the Football League Championship and is notable as being one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888 and is, therefore, one of only ten clubs to have competed in every season of the English...

 and Scotland.

During this period McLeish worked towards and was awarded a UEFA Pro Licence.

Rangers


His work at Hibs was noticed, and he was linked with several moves to England, before he was appointed as Rangers
Rangers F.C.
Rangers Football Club are an association football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, who play in the Scottish Premier League. The club are nicknamed the Gers, Teddy Bears and the Light Blues, and the fans are known to each other as bluenoses...

 manager in December 2001 after outgoing Rangers manager Dick Advocaat
Dick Advocaat
Dirk Nicolaas "Dick" Advocaat is a Dutch football manager and former player currently the manager of the Russia national football team.He has been moderately successful as a football player and as a coach, which included two stints with the Dutch national football team...

 recommended McLeish to chairman David Murray
David Murray (Scottish businessman)
Sir David Edward Murray is a Scottish entrepreneur, businessman and former owner and chairman of Rangers Football Club....

.

McLeish was an instant success at Rangers, winning both the Scottish Cup
Scottish Cup
The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup,, commonly known as the Scottish Cup or the William Hill Scottish Cup for sponsorship purposes, is the main national cup competition in Scottish football. It is a knockout cup competition run by and named after the Scottish Football Association.The...

 and Scottish League Cup
Scottish League Cup
The Scottish League Cup is a football competition open to all Scottish Football League and Scottish Premier League clubs. At present it is also known as the Scottish Communities League Cup owing to the sponsorship deal in place with the Scottish Government. In the past it has been sponsored by...

 in his first season, but the big prize of the league title was essentially lost before his arrival. His second season saw him go one better when he won the domestic treble, with the help of top players such as Ronald de Boer
Ronald de Boer
Ronaldus "Ronald" de Boer is a former Dutch football midfielder who has played for the Dutch national team as well as a host of professional clubs in Europe. He is the older twin brother of Frank de Boer.-Club career:...

 and Barry Ferguson
Barry Ferguson
Barry Ferguson MBE is a Scottish footballer who plays as a midfielder for Blackpool.Ferguson has made 82 appearances in European competitions, all for Rangers, which makes him the record European appearance holder at the club. He was also inducted into the Rangers F.C. Hall of Fame...

.

Rangers' worsening financial state saw many of his top players leave in the summer of 2003. Celtic
Celtic F.C.
Celtic Football Club is a Scottish football club based in the Parkhead area of Glasgow, which currently plays in the Scottish Premier League. The club was established in 1887, and played its first game in 1888. Celtic have won the Scottish League Championship on 42 occasions, most recently in the...

 won the league comfortably in season 2003–04, and Rangers failed to win any trophies. McLeish was consequently put under pressure from fans after his poor signings and a record run of seven consecutive derby losses to Celtic.

The high profile Bosman
Bosman ruling
Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Football Association ASBL v Jean-Marc Bosman is a 1995 European Court of Justice decision concerning freedom of movement for workers, freedom of association, and direct effect of article 39 of the EC Treaty...

 signings of Jean-Alain Boumsong
Jean-Alain Boumsong
Jean-Alain Boumsong-Somkong is a professional football defender who currently plays for the Greek team Panathinaikos and the French national team.-Early career:...

 and Dado Pršo
Dado Pršo
Miladin "Dado" Pršo is a Croatian former professional footballer who played as a striker.Pršo played for seven different teams and made over 300 league appearances as a professional...

 in the close season of 2004–05 gave Rangers renewed hope of regaining the title from Celtic's grasp. McLeish's team won the 2005 league title on a dramatic last day, an outcome that had looked highly unlikely after Rangers fell five points behind leaders Celtic with just four games remaining.

After this unexpected success, McLeish and his Rangers team headed into the 2005–06 SPL campaign as favourites to retain the championship. McLeish made a number of signings, including Julien Rodriguez
Julien Rodriguez
Julien Rodriguez is a French professional footballer. He currently plays for the Ligue 1 club Marseille....

 and Ian Murray, despite having little money to spend. After a reasonable start to the season, including a win over Celtic, Rangers suffered a series of poor results between September and November. This period included a club record of 10 games without a win. However the tenth match of this run, a 1–1 draw with Inter Milan
F.C. Internazionale Milano
Football Club Internazionale Milano, often referred to as Internazionale or simply Inter, is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Italy. Outside Italy, the club is often called Inter Milan. They are the reigning FIFA Club World champions and Coppa Italia holders.Inter have always...

 in the Champions League
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League, known simply the Champions League and originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup or European Cup, is an annual international club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations since 1955 for the top football clubs in Europe. It...

, took Rangers into the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time.

Despite the poor domestic form, McLeish guided Rangers to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they were defeated on the away goals rule
Away goals rule
The away goals rule is a method of breaking ties in association football and other sports when teams play each other twice, once at each team's home ground. By the away goals rule, the team that has scored more goals "away from home" will win if scores are otherwise equal...

 by Villarreal
Villarreal CF
Villarreal Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. , usually abbreviated to Villarreal CF or just Villarreal, is a Spanish Primera División football club based in Vila-real, a city in the province of Castellón within the Valencian Community...

. They became the first Scottish team to progress this far in the European Cup
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League, known simply the Champions League and originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup or European Cup, is an annual international club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations since 1955 for the top football clubs in Europe. It...

 since 1993, and the first Scottish team to progress through a European group stage. In December, chairman David Murray
David Murray (Scottish businessman)
Sir David Edward Murray is a Scottish entrepreneur, businessman and former owner and chairman of Rangers Football Club....

 publicly announced his support for McLeish. Rangers then went on a good run of results in December and January.

This run of good results came to a sudden halt when they were defeated 3–0 by Hibernian in the Scottish Cup, prompting protests outside Ibrox against both McLeish and David Murray. On 9 February 2006, it was announced by chairman David Murray that McLeish would be standing down as manager at the end of that season.

It was later announced that he would be succeeded by former Olympique Lyonnais
Olympique Lyonnais
Olympique Lyonnais is a French association football club based in Lyon. They play in France's highest football division, Ligue 1. The club was formed as Lyon Olympique Universitaire in 1899, according to many supporters and sport historians, but was nationally established as a club in 1950. The...

 manager Paul Le Guen
Paul Le Guen
Paul Le Guen is a French football manager and former player. He was recently confirmed as new manager of the Oman national football team.Le Guen had a successful managerial career in France, most notably leading Olympique Lyonnais to three consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He has also managed Stade...

. Rangers beat Hearts
Heart of Midlothian F.C.
Heart of Midlothian Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Gorgie, in the west of Edinburgh. They currently play in the Scottish Premier League and are one of the two principal clubs in the city, the other being Hibernian...

 2–0 at Ibrox Stadium
Ibrox Stadium
Ibrox Stadium is a football stadium located on the south side of the River Clyde, on Edmiston Drive in the Ibrox district of Glasgow. It is the home ground of Scottish Premier League club Rangers and has an all-seated capacity of 51,082...

 in his final match as manager.

Scotland


McLeish said after leaving Rangers that he would not manage another Scottish club, because he felt that he had achieved everything in the Scottish game. He was linked in the media with a number of managerial positions in England while he worked as a television pundit for the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and Setanta Sports
Setanta Sports
Setanta Sports is an international sports broadcaster based in Dublin, Ireland. Setanta Sports was formed in 1990 to facilitate the broadcasting of Irish sporting events...

.

McLeish took charge of the Scotland national team
Scotland national football team
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. Scotland are the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872...

 on 29 January 2007. His assistants in the job were Roy Aitken
Roy Aitken
Robert Sime "Roy" Aitken is a former footballer who went on to become a coach with clubs including Leeds United and Aston Villa. His position as a player was defence.Born in Irvine, Ayrshire, he grew up in Ardrossan...

 and Andy Watson.
McLeish's first game in charge of the national team was a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match, a 2–1 victory against Georgia on 24 March 2007 at Hampden Park
Hampden Park
Hampden Park is a football stadium in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow, Scotland. The 52,063 capacity venue serves as the national stadium of football in Scotland...

. His second game was an away fixture against Italy
Italy national football team
The Italy National Football Team , represents Italy in association football and is controlled by the Italian Football Federation , the governing body for football in Italy. Italy is the second most successful national team in the history of the World Cup having won four titles , just one fewer than...

 on 28 March 2007 which ended in a 2–0 defeat.

McLeish's Scotland side then went on to defeat the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands national football team
The Faroe Islands national football team represents the Faroe Islands in association football and is controlled by the Faroe Islands Football Association, the governing body for football in the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands became a member of FIFA in 1988 and UEFA in 1990 and are the third...

 away in June, Lithuania
Lithuania national football team
The national football team of Lithuania is under the auspices of the Lithuanian Football Federation. It played its first match in 1923. In 1940, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union; the country regained its independence in 1990 and played their first match as a new nation against Georgia on...

 at home in September before recording a historic victory in Paris four days later by defeating France
France national football team
The France national football team represents the nation of France in international football. It is fielded by the French Football Federation , the governing body of football in France, and competes as a member of UEFA, which encompasses the countries of Europe...

 1–0 in the Parc des Princes
Parc des Princes
The Parc des Princes is an all-seater football stadium located in the southwest of Paris, France. The venue, with a seating capacity of 48,712 spectators, has been the home of French football club Paris Saint-Germain since 1974. The current Parc des Princes was inaugurated on 4 June 1972, endowed...

. James McFadden
James McFadden
James McFadden is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a forward for Everton.McFadden started his career with Scottish Premier League club Motherwell. He came to prominence in the 2002–03 season by scoring 19 goals and winning the Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year award....

's 64th-minute strike from 30 yards was enough to earn Scotland the win and returned them to the top of Group B with three games to play. This result has been hailed as one of the Scotland national team's greatest victories. Scotland's next success was at home to Ukraine
Ukraine national football team
The Ukraine national football team is the national football team of Ukraine and is controlled by the Football Federation of Ukraine. After Ukrainian Independence and breakaway from the Soviet Union, they played their first match against Hungary on 29 April 1992...

, winning 3–1 at Hampden on 13 October. McLeish suffered his second defeat as manager, away in Georgia on 17 October. This result left him facing a decider against the World Champions, Italy. Scotland lost the game, McLeish's last, and Italy qualified for the finals.

Birmingham City


Premier League Birmingham City
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

's approach to the SFA
Scottish Football Association
The Scottish Football Association is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations...

 for permission to speak to McLeish about their managerial vacancy was refused,
but on his return on 27 November 2007 from attending the draw for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
The qualification competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup was a series of tournaments organised by the six FIFA confederations. Each confederation — the AFC , CAF , CONCACAF , CONMEBOL , OFC , and UEFA — was allocated a certain number of the 32 places at the tournament...

 in South Africa, he resigned his post as manager of Scotland and was announced as Birmingham's new manager the following day. His assistants with Scotland, Roy Aitken and Andy Watson, were to accompany him. McLeish said he wanted to return to working with players on a daily basis and had "always harboured a desire" to manage in the Premier League.

He enjoyed a positive managerial debut with Birmingham, winning 3–2 away to Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club , commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English Premier League football club based in Tottenham, north London. The club's home stadium is White Hart Lane....

. In the January 2008 transfer window
Transfer window
The transfer window is the period during the year in which a football club can transfer players from other countries into their playing staff. Such a transfer is completed by registering the player into the new club through FIFA...

, McLeish strengthened Birmingham's squad, buying David Murphy
David Murphy (footballer)
David Paul Murphy is an English professional footballer who plays for Birmingham City. Murphy, born in Hartlepool, County Durham, is a defender who plays at left back.-Club career:...

 and James McFadden
James McFadden
James McFadden is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a forward for Everton.McFadden started his career with Scottish Premier League club Motherwell. He came to prominence in the 2002–03 season by scoring 19 goals and winning the Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year award....

 and signing Argentina under-20 international
Argentina national under-20 football team
The Argentina national under-20 football team is the representative of Argentina in FIFA sponsored tournaments that pertain to that age level....

 Mauro Zárate
Mauro Zárate
Mauro Matías Zárate is an Argentine footballer who plays for Serie A club Internazionale on loan from Lazio.Zárate started his career with Vélez Sársfield in his native country, playing three years for the team and winning the Primera División title in the 2005 Clausura tournament...

 on loan, while generating funds by allowing fringe players to leave. He was unable to save Birmingham from relegation, despite the team recording an impressive 4–1 victory over Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers F.C.
Blackburn Rovers Football Club is an English professional association football club based in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire. The team currently competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football....

 on the last day of the season.

McLeish changed the club's backroom staff and training procedures, appointed David Watson
David Watson (footballer born 1973)
David Watson is an English former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper for Barnsley and the England under-21 team. He now works as goalkeeping coach for Birmingham City.Watson was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire...

 as goalkeeping coach, and overhauled the scouting setup, bringing in Paul Montgomery – the scout who recommended a relatively unknown Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba
Didier Yves Drogba Tébily is an Ivorian footballer who plays in the centre forward position. He currently plays for Chelsea in the Premier League, where he is deputy vice-captain, and is the captain and all-time top scorer of the Côte d'Ivoire national football team...

 to West Ham United
West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Upton Park, Newham, East London. They play in The Football League Championship. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks FC and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. In 1904 the club relocated to their current...

 – to oversee player recruitment.

On the final day of the 2008–09 season, McLeish secured Birmingham's return to the top flight of English football at the first attempt with a 2–1 away victory over Reading
Reading F.C.
Reading Football Club is an English association football club based in the town of Reading, Berkshire who currently play in the Championship...

. By mid-January 2010, he had guided them to a 12-game unbeaten run, a club record in the top division, set a Premier League record by selecting the same starting eleven for nine consecutive games, and been named Premier League Manager of the Month for December 2009, the first Birmingham manager to receive the award. By the end of the season McLeish had led Birmingham to ninth place, their highest finish for more than 50 years.

Following Birmingham's success during the 2009-10 season, McLeish agreed a new three-year deal with the club in September 2010.
In February 2011, McLeish led Birmingham to victory in the League Cup
2010–11 Football League Cup
The 2010–11 Football League Cup, known as the Carling Cup due to the competition's sponsorship by lager brand Carling, was the 51st season of the Football League Cup, a knock-out competition for England's top 92 football clubs....

, defeating favourites Arsenal
Arsenal F.C.
Arsenal Football Club is a professional English Premier League football club based in North London. One of the most successful clubs in English football, it has won 13 First Division and Premier League titles and 10 FA Cups...

 2–1 in the final
2011 Football League Cup Final
The 2011 Football League Cup Final was the final match of the 2010–11 Football League Cup, the 51st season of the Football League Cup, a football competition for the 92 teams in the Premier League and the Football League. The match was contested by Arsenal and Birmingham City, at Wembley Stadium in...

 at Wembley
Wembley Stadium
The original Wembley Stadium, officially known as the Empire Stadium, was a football stadium in Wembley, a suburb of north-west London, standing on the site now occupied by the new Wembley Stadium that opened in 2007...

 in what he described as "relatively speaking, ... [his] greatest achievement".
However, a poor run of form followed the League Cup win, and Birmingham were relegated to the Championship
Football League Championship
The Football League Championship is the highest division of The Football League and second-highest division overall in the English football league system after the Premier League...

 on the last day of the 2010–11 season. The directors confirmed that McLeish would keep his job, and would be expected to return the club to the Premier League at the first opportunity. McLeish however opted to quit Birmingham City on 12 June 2011 by email.

Aston Villa


On 17 June 2011, Aston Villa
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Witton, Birmingham. The club was founded in 1874 and have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888. They were also founder...

 appointed McLeish as manager, just five days after leaving their local rivals Birmingham City. There was much controversy surrounding his appointment as Birmingham City claimed McLeish was still under contract and filed a complaint against Aston Villa to the Premier League while Villa claimed McLeish was a free agent.Aston Villa fans protested outside Villa Park
Villa Park
Villa Park may mean:United Kingdom* Villa Park, an association football stadium in Birmingham, EnglandUnited States* Villa Park, California, a small city in Orange County* Villa Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago in DuPage County...

 and anti-McLeish graffiti had to be removed from outside Villa's training ground. McLeish made out of favour Manchester City
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is an English Premier League football club based in Manchester. Founded in 1880 as St. Mark's , they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894...

 goalkeeper Shay Given
Shay Given
Séamus John James "Shay" Given is an Irish footballer who plays for Aston Villa and the Republic of Ireland national team as a goalkeeper. He won the PFA's Player of the Year in 2002....

 his first signing, and then recruited winger Charles N'Zogbia
Charles N'Zogbia
Charles N'Zogbia is a French footballer who plays for Aston Villa in the Premier League. N'Zogbia was capped for the France under-21 team on thirteen occasions, and made his debut for the senior side in 2010....

. McLeish's first competitive game as Villa manager ended in a 0-0 draw with Fulham
Fulham F.C.
Fulham Football Club is a professional English Premier League club based in southwest London Fulham, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Founded in 1879, they play in the Premier League, their 11th current season...

 at Craven Cottage
Craven Cottage
Craven Cottage is the name of a football stadium in the Hammersmith and Fulham area that has been the home ground of the association football team Fulham F.C. since 1896....

. He gained his first Premier League win as manager of Villa in a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers F.C.
Blackburn Rovers Football Club is an English professional association football club based in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire. The team currently competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football....

.

Club honours

  • Motherwell 1994–1998
    • Scottish Premier Division
      Scottish Premier League
      The Scottish Premier League , also known as the SPL , is a professional league competition for association football clubs in Scotland...

       runners-up (1): 1994–95

  • Hibernian 1998–2001
    • Scottish First Division
      Scottish Football League First Division
      The Irn-Bru Scottish Football League First Division Championship is the highest division of the Scottish Football League and the second highest in the Scottish football league system....

       winners (1): 1998–99
    • Scottish Cup
      Scottish Cup
      The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup,, commonly known as the Scottish Cup or the William Hill Scottish Cup for sponsorship purposes, is the main national cup competition in Scottish football. It is a knockout cup competition run by and named after the Scottish Football Association.The...

       runners-up (1): 2001

  • Rangers 2001–2006
    • Scottish Premier League
      Scottish Premier League
      The Scottish Premier League , also known as the SPL , is a professional league competition for association football clubs in Scotland...

       winners (2): 2002–03, 2004–05
    • Scottish Premier League runners-up (2): 2001–02, 2003–04
    • Scottish Cup
      Scottish Cup
      The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup,, commonly known as the Scottish Cup or the William Hill Scottish Cup for sponsorship purposes, is the main national cup competition in Scottish football. It is a knockout cup competition run by and named after the Scottish Football Association.The...

       winners (2): 2002, 2003
    • Scottish League Cup
      Scottish League Cup
      The Scottish League Cup is a football competition open to all Scottish Football League and Scottish Premier League clubs. At present it is also known as the Scottish Communities League Cup owing to the sponsorship deal in place with the Scottish Government. In the past it has been sponsored by...

       winners (3): 2002, 2003, 2005

  • Birmingham City 2007–2011
    • Football League Championship
      Football League Championship
      The Football League Championship is the highest division of The Football League and second-highest division overall in the English football league system after the Premier League...

       runners-up (1): 2008–09
      2008–09 in English football
      The 2008–09 season was the 129th season of competitive football in England.-Overview:* West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Hull City were all playing in the Premier League after winning promotion from the Championship last season. Stoke returned to the top flight after a 23-year absence, while...

    • Football League Cup
      Football League Cup
      The Football League Cup, commonly known as the League Cup or, from current sponsorship, the Carling Cup, is an English association football competition. Like the FA Cup, it is played on a knockout basis...

       winners (1): 2010-11

Individual awards

  • Scottish Football Hall of Fame
    Scottish Football Hall of Fame
    The Scottish Football Hall of Fame is located at the Scottish Football Museum. Inductees are picked each year by fans and a committee selects the eight finalists who are inducted at an annual dinner....

    : inducted 2005
  • SPL Manager of the Month
    Scottish Premier League monthly awards
    This article lists the winners of the Manager, Player and Young Player monthly awards in the Scottish Premier League since the2000–01 season. No Young Player of the Month were awarded in the 2000–01 season. Rising Star awards were issued most months in the 2007–08 season.The awards are currently...

     (9): October 2000, February 2002, September 2002, February 2003, August 2003, September 2003, November 2004, February 2005, January 2006
  • Premier League Manager of the Month: December 2009

Managerial statistics

eam at rom o Record
G W D L Win %
Motherwell
Motherwell F.C.
Motherwell Football & Athletic Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. The club compete in the Scottish Premier League and are one of only seven teams to have remained in this league since it was founded in 1998...

  13 July 1994 10 February 1998
Hibernian
Hibernian F.C.
Hibernian Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Leith, in the north of Edinburgh. They are one of two Scottish Premier League clubs in the city, the other being their Edinburgh derby rivals, Hearts...

  11 February 1998 11 December 2001
Rangers
Rangers F.C.
Rangers Football Club are an association football club based in Glasgow, Scotland, who play in the Scottish Premier League. The club are nicknamed the Gers, Teddy Bears and the Light Blues, and the fans are known to each other as bluenoses...

  13 December 2001 8 May 2006
Scotland
Scotland national football team
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. Scotland are the joint oldest national football team in the world, alongside England, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872...

  29 January 2007 27 November 2007
Birmingham City
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943.They were relegated at the end of the...

  28 November 2007 12 June 2011
Aston Villa
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Witton, Birmingham. The club was founded in 1874 and have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888. They were also founder...

  17 June 2011 Present
Total

External links