Shelley Kerr’s departure as Scotland head coach does not come as a surprise, says former striker Julie Fleeting.
Kerr stepped down from her role with the women’s national side on Thursday and said she was looking forward to “the next chapter” in her career.
Scotland were unable to secure their place at Euro 2022 – meaning they missed out on qualification for three straight finals.
“It’s a cut-throat business,” former Scotland forward Fleeting said.
“I don’t think it’s a massive surprise,” Fleeting told BBC Scotland. “With Shelley’s contract running out shortly – and I think she’s had two campaigns with the group of players – she’s possibly ready for a new challenge.
“With the [Euro 2022 qualification] campaign coming to an end, and unfortunately not qualifying, then I think it’s probably a good time for Shelley to step away to get a new challenge and someone fresh to come in and take over the national side.”
Kerr, who succeeded Anna Signeul as Scotland head coach in 2017, guided the side to their first ever appearance at a World Cup finals.
However, hopes of securing a place at Euro 2022 were dashed with a defeat by Finland earlier this month.
And controversy surrounded the fallout from the end of Scotland’s World Cup campaign with Kerr admitting she would “do things differently” after players were reduced to tears at a meeting the day after they were knocked out.
Kerr, whose contract was due to end at the end of the Euros qualifying campaign, said it was time for a fresh challenge and to give someone else the opportunity to take the national side forward.
“The results have been far from good enough and I think the expectation on the national side is massive because of the success over the past few years,” said Fleeting.
“Shelley did incredibly well to take the team to their very first World Cup [finals] and the last campaign hasn’t gone the way that Shelley, the players or the country would’ve hoped.”
Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell said both he and Kerr felt “it was the right time for the national team to regroup in time for the World Cup qualifiers”.
Fleeting said Scotland had been the better side throughout the 90 minutes of all three of their Euro 2022 qualifying defeats – home and away against Finland and by Portugal in Lisbon – adding: “but the very fine margins, when you don’t score the goals when you need to, it ends up where we haven’t qualified.
“So, these are things that happen in international football. Of course, we’d have loved to have been talking about looking forward to another tournament but it wasn’t to be. It’s a cut-throat business and, if you don’t get the results that you want or think your team deserve, then that’s what happens in the game.
“You have to move on and allow someone else the opportunity to come in and take over.”