The head of Scotland's national soccer team, Berti Vogts, has resigned because of "disgraceful abuse" including being spat upon, he said in a statement released Monday. The German had expressed interest in coming home.
Vogts' record in Scotland left much to be desired
Vogts, who led Germany to victory in Euro 1996, has faced mounting criticism following a string of poor results which has left Scotland in need of a miracle if they are to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
But Vogts, who also won the 1974 World Cup as a player with West Germany and was assistant coach when West Germany won the 1990 World Cup, was not shy in expressing his disgust at the treatment he had received during his tenure as manager.
"With great reluctance, myself and the Scottish Football Association, and in particular John McBeth and David Taylor, who have been a source of great strength and support, have made a joint decision to close this chapter in my life at the helm of Scottish international football," said Vogts in a statement.
He said he made the decision "with a heavy heart" since he enjoyed his tenure at the hub of the Scottish national team. "I must say that the major factor in this decision has been the disgraceful abuse that I have suffered, especially of late. It has degenerated into a physical nature, especially on recent occasions where I have been spat upon."
A German soccer supporter wears a Scottish Tam O'Shanter cap prior to the Scotland v Germany Euro2004 soccer championships group 5 qualifying match at Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland Saturday June 7, 2003.
"This is not acceptable behavior in a civilized society and I know that the vast majority of Scots will join me in my disgust at this act by a very tiny minority," he said, adding the abuse was having a serious effect upon his private life.
While Vogts had kind words for his players especially captain Barry Ferguson, he also had stinging criticism for the Scottish press. "The opinions expressed mostly by journalists with little knowledge of the game certainly had a great effect on some of the fans," said Vogts, who steered the Scots to a Euro 2004 play-off spot where they were massacred by the Dutch.
"I know that the opinions that have been expressed by a section of the press are not those of the majority of the Scottish people," he said. Recently it became clear Vogts was tiring of the abuse he was being subjected to in Scotland, as he expressed interest in returning to Germany at some point in the future.
But even if Vogts had wanted to stay on, with only two points from their opening three 2006 World Cup qualifiers meant there was little option but for him to go. Former Rangers manager Walter Smith is the favorite to replace him at the helm of the Scottish national team.