RANGERS manager Pedro Caixinha expected Scottish football to be on the up after being impressed with the coaching education programme.

But he believes there needs to be more focus on tactical awareness for players to get Scotland back to the main international arena.

The Portuguese coach disagreed with Gordon Strachan’s claim that Scotland were “genetically behind” after taking their absence from major tournaments beyond 20 years with a 2-2 draw in Slovenia.

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Caixinha, who completed his coaching badges with the Scottish Football Association in 2011, said: “You need to respect his point of view, more directed towards the physical side of the game, but he also mentioned that Scotland and Spain were the shortest ones. But Spain play a lot of football, so I think it’s nothing to do with that.

“When I came here to do my badges, I was really obsessed with the way things were done here for the coaches’ education, and I really learned a lot when I was here.

“So I was expecting that things were going in that direction. If the education of the coaches is so good, the whole of football should also be very good from the base to the top, from the youth system to the professional league.

“But if, once again, the focus is on the fitness side and physicality, I think we are not focused on the main (aspects) of the game, which is the decisions, the tactical side, the style of play, the game models, the training methodology.

“A lot of things surround football nowadays and we need to understand that that information is going to be very, very useful.”

However, Hamilton manager Martin Canning felt Strachan had a point.

“I don’t know how you can fix it, but I do understand what he’s saying,” Canning said. “I think in terms of the power at the top end of the game, the smaller players are all powerful, very quick and have great acceleration and we don’t seem to create that type of player.

“We’re good pros but, if you look at the top end of the game, we don’t have that speed or the power.”

Strachan’s future is set to be discussed by the Scottish Football Association board today but his former Scotland team-mate Maurice Malpas believes the 60-year-old will take the decision out of their hands.

Malpas told Sky Sports News HQ: “I will be quite surprised if he continues. He has had two campaigns and they haven’t qualified. I’m sure Gordon will say: ‘I’ve done my bit, I have tried, I will pass it on to someone else’.”

However, the SFA might be tempted to offer Strachan another contract after an unbeaten 2017 helped them secure top-seed status in League C of Uefa’s new Nations League.

Next autumn’s competition potentially offers Scotland another route into Euro 2020.

In each of the four leagues, four teams will play off for a place in the European Championship finals in March 2020, with the next best-ranked team taking the place of any side which qualified through the conventional route.

Scotland will face Greece, Serbia, Albania or Norway from pot two; Montenegro, Israel, Finland or Bulgaria from pot three; and could take on Cyprus, Estonia or Lithuania from pot four. The draw is made on January 24.