DOUBTING THOMAS; WORLD CUP 2014 HOW THE ROAD TO RIO TURNED INTO ROAD TO HELL Macari: I Gave Mickey a Rollicking When He Said This Was Worst Side in Scotland's History Now I Owe Him an Apology

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Byline: EWING GRAHAME sport@dailyrecord.co.uk

LOU MACARI watched in horror as Scotland crashed to a fourth straight defeat in a competitive game for the first time in the country's proud history. The former Celtic, Manchester United and Scotland star is as fiercely patriotic now as he was when he played for Scotland at the 1978 World Cup finals.

But he admitted: "Mickey Thomas is an old United team-mate of mine and when he described the current lot as the worst Scotland team ever I called him up and gave him a rollicking.

"Now though - after watching them lose to Wales and Serbia - I owe him an apology."

But Macari believes it isn't just Scotland that's losing their way. He argues Great Britain is fast becoming Mediocre Britain in football terms.

Macari said: "It's not just us - look at the other results. England couldn't beat Montenegro, whose population is about the same as Glasgow's.

"Wales lost at home to Croatia, Northern Ireland lost at home to Israel and the Republic couldn't beat Austria in Dublin.

"The international results were bad enough but there's not a single team from Scotland or England in Champions League quarter-finals.

"I'm not even going to start on the SPL but that tells me the Premier League isn't as good as it's cracked up to be. The bottom line is we don't have the players any more."

The ex-Celtic, West Ham and Stoke boss, now a pundit for United's own TV station, can't help but compare today's playing standards to when he was involved in the 1978 campaign.

Macari said: "I played in the side that beat Wales at Anfield to qualify but I was still relieved to be included when the original 80-strong squad was narrowed down to 40 and then 22.

"Can you imagine trying to name 80 Scotland players nowadays? It's just not possible, which is why we have so many English lads in the squad. We can't afford to pick and choose.

"I watch a fair bit of the Championship but I didn't know anything about Liam Bridcutt - and he was one of our best performers the other night.

acclaim "I have sympathy for Gordon Strachan because he has nothing to work with.

"In fact, if Gordon manages to turn this team around then I'll hold my hands up and acclaim him as the greatest manager who ever lived. …