As Gordon Strachan's revival of Scotland's fortunes continues apace, Igor Stimac may have reached the end of the road as Croatia's manager.
Scotland celebrated a first home win in a competitive fixture in more than two years and thereby ensured Group A would not conclude without a single Hampden success. Stimac, however, was so bruised by a second successive defeat to the Scots that he announced he had offered his resignation.
Croatia have reached the play-offs for next summer's World Cup in Brazil but there has been general disquiet over Stimac's performance. The visiting support made their own unhappiness perfectly clear at full-time, after Croatia had produced an insipid showing. "I want to show a certain responsibility," said Stimac. "They will have a meeting to discuss my offer to resign. If anyone doesn't want me then they can say now."
A poll conducted in Croatia even before this game had revealed that a staggering 97% of the nation's football fans wanted Stimac removed from office. It now remains to be seen if Davor Suker, the president of the Croatian FA, bows to those demands. "It seems we are not happy qualifying for the play-offs," Stimac added."We were not happy after beating Macedonia, we were not happy after drawing against Belgium. And so it goes on. We beat Serbia 4-0 and they said we barely survived that game.
"We went to Wales and beat them 2-1 and they said we were not good enough. That's how it works in Croatia. It's not just me. Managers before me and possibly managers after me have suffered this. I would like to finish the job, as I think we can. But if not I have certain places I can go."
This business rather overshadowed a deserved Scotland win, which was achieved with a goal from Robert Snodgrass and another from Steven Naismith. This proved to be an odd campaign for the Scots; they defeated Croatia home and finished fourth, in line with their seeding, but suffered wounding defeats to fifth-placed Wales. "This win might have no impact whatsoever, you just never know," said Strachan after a third victory in four competitive outings. "But what it does is it makes you feel happy for a month."
Strachan opted to keep out of the Stimac affair. "I'll go and speak to him in a minute. He's a lovely man, a terrific fella."
Snodgrass headed home at the back post after meeting a cross from the outstanding Charlie Mulgrew. Croatia offered little in response, with Naismith adding gloss to the Scotland success with a rebound after Stipe Pletikosa had saved a Barry Bannan penalty. It was a fitting way for Naismith to mark the occasion of his 25th cap.
"There was good football out there and there must be special praise for Naismith. I thought he was fantastic," Strachan added. "Everything about him was great. He has a big heart and allows others around him to play. We'll add technical ability and all the rest to the squad, but the players' heart, concentration and determination was great."