NO sooner had Jonas Eriksson blown the final whistle in the Stozice Stadium on Sunday evening to bring an end to a Russia 2018 qualifying campaign that had promised so much for Scotland only to ultimately end in disappointment and failure once again and the post mortems had started.

Why, furious fans demanded, had Matt Phillips stayed on the park in Ljubljana for the full 90 minutes when he had contributed so little? Why, for that matter, had he even kept his place in the team after an anonymous display against Slovakia at Hampden on the Thursday evening?

Why was James Forrest, who had performed so brightly out wide for the national team in their penultimate Group F fixture, left out of the starting line-up? And why wasn’t he brought on when his side fell behind?

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Why was Callum McGregor, who has been performing consistently well for Celtic, including in the Champions League group stages, for some considerable time now, given a chance with his country, even as a substitute, which his club form clearly deserves?

The unwillingness of Strachan to start Leigh Griffiths – the player who was, more than any other, responsible for the resurgence which Scotland have enjoyed in their section this year – in the first four games against Malta, Lithuania, Slovakia and England was also brought up once again.

Strachan certainly shared in the acute sense of frustration felt by both his players and supporters as a dismal run of underachievement run which now stretches back 19 long years continued. But regrets? He doesn’t have any. He remains adamant he couldn’t have asked for or expected any more from the group of players he has at his disposal.

“No, there is too much there for that, you can’t do that,” he said. “Say I did do something different. Does that guarantee a win? Whatever everyone else says doesn’t really matter. I respect it, but you can’t say if you had done something else, that would have been a winning team. It might have been worse, it might have been a lot worse.

“It’s an honour. I have been lucky to work with great lads and have managed great lads, but these ones went deep in the last couple of games, to places where I don’t think they have been before.

“Yes, we got 14 points out of our last 18. But it wasn’t just getting 14 points, it was how we did it. Whatever we got, we earned.

“You can look back at a couple of things. A 94th minute equaliser for England. There could be a lot of things that would have made a difference.”

After Sunday, there are many members of the Tartan Army who would be happy to see Strachan leave regardless of the turnaround in fortunes Scotland have enjoyed.

There is, though, no great appetite among the SFA to replace a man who was contracted until the end of the Russia 2018 campaign. Strachan will decide in the coming days whether to carry on or call it a day.

But could a replacement make a better fist of the forthcoming Euro 2020 campaign? Most supporters think so. Davie Moyes, Paul Lambert, Derek McInnes, Alex McLeish are among those being touted as possible successors.

The man who resisted calls to stand down after the 3-0 defeat to England at Wembley back in November had left his side in second bottom spot in Group F and took the campaign down to the last game may not survive this latest blow. But after a bruising experience he will take time to consider his options.

“I think football will be off my list for a couple of weeks, that’s for sure,” he said.