Scotland suffered an embarrassing 3-0 loss in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier.
Charlie Adam insists Scotland’s humiliating defeat to Kazakhstan should not be treated as a “sacking offence”.
Calls for manager Alex McLeish’s head have come thick and fast since the final whistle blew on one of the nation’s worst ever results in Nursultan.
But Adam, who played under the Scotland boss during his stint at Rangers, believes his old Ibrox mentor deserves more time after guiding the Scots to the safety net of a Nations League play-off.
Instead, the Stoke midfielder says the finger of blame for Thursday’s shock 3-0 loss should be pointed at the players, who collapsed without a fight against a side ranked 117th in the world at the Astana Arena.
“They capitulated too easily,” Adam told BBC Radio 5 Live. “It’s an inexperienced group and I didn’t see anyone pulling each other together.
“You lose two goals quickly and need to regroup. You need to have leaders.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s a sacking offence for McLeish. He did his job by getting Scotland to the Nations League play-off.
“There’s a reason these type of nights happen and it was down to players not imposing themselves on the opposition.
“I like Alex as a manager and person and the players let him down. They need to have a look at themselves.”
Scotland were hit by a raft of call-offs in the build-up to their opening Euro 2020 qualifier.
That left McLeish with Graeme Shinnie as his next option at left-back, but it proved to be a nightmare for the Aberdeen man as he was largely culpable for all three goals.
Adam said: “There’s got be an overhaul of the quality of player in the squad. There has to be better players out there than some of these guys.
“International level is a step up and you saw the two defenders [Shinnie and Aberdeen team-mate Scott McKenna]. They play in the same team but made basic mistakes and were punished.”