Gordon Strachan's mission is to prove he is different. It has become customary for members of the Scotland squad to praise their international manager prior to a downturn in results and an inevitable sacking. When Strachan replaced Craig Levein last month, he became the sixth coach to take charge of the Scots on a long-term contract since 1998, when they last qualified for a major tournament.
Strachan conducted his first Scotland training session on Monday morning and held his maiden team meeting later in the day in preparation for home friendly against Estonia. His task is to re-establish hope in a nation, and squad, who have become worryingly accustomed to watching on as others dine at international football's top table.
"It was a no-brainer to give Gordon the job, as far as I was concerned," says Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, who played under Strachan. "First and foremost, he is an excellent coach. He is tactically very astute and I think that's such an important component of any successful international manager.
"He simplifies things on the training ground – his training is also very enjoyable – and simplifies what he wants his players to do in matches. Those players react to him and respect him, which is demonstrated by his ability to get the best out of them in return."
That talent of maximising potential, surely an essential one for a successful Scotland manager, was evident during Strachan's Celtic years. As is typical the significance of his achievements during his spell at Parkhead was really clear only after Strachan had departed.
Yet an inauspicious time at Middlesbrough followed. Strachan cut short his time on Teesside after making wholesale changes – he signed 11 players within weeks of taking the job – and watching his team tumble down the Championship. A lesson in back-to-front management was learned. "I really should have used the players that were there and used a system for them," he says.
Strachan has his long-time friend and former Aberdeen team-mate Mark McGhee as his assistant. Few are better placed to speak about Strachan's suitability for his new role. So what should give the long-suffering foot soldiers of the Tartan Army the belief that this manager will make things different?
"Gordon has watched the national team for a long time and he has a very clear picture of how he wants the team to play," McGhee says. "He feels he recognises the strengths of Scottish players – this group of players – and possibly weaknesses.
"That's one of Gordon's strengths. Clarity is one of the things that he has. That is important in any squad, club or national.
"We've not come in during a pre-season, remember; we don't have weeks and months. We've got to hit the ground running and therefore it's important that you don't fudge things and you're not experimenting, that you have a clear picture of how you think it will work. Gordon has that. If he does get his message across and it does work, we could be up and running quickly. It will be one of his great strengths."
The Vancouver Whitecaps striker Kenny Miller, another who has previously worked under Strachan, is similarly positive. Miller remains adamant, nonetheless, that nothing was fundamentally wrong under Levein. "In the past we talked about the spirit. All that is important, a good vibe in the group. But performances just never seemed to come," Miller says.
"I think we all saw from Gordon's time at Celtic he organises his teams very well. Whether it was domestic games or European games, he set the team up properly.
"Even in his first session there were elements of how he wants us to go about our business. He was trying to get us into his way of thinking right from the moment we stepped onto the training pitch. So we'll be prepared and we'll be ready."
Miller is an intriguing case, now operating in Major League Soccer at the age of 33 and one of a clutch of players potentially vulnerable to the fresh approach of a new manager. For now, Strachan seems happy to tweak rather than overhaul.
"Because of Gordon and his reputation, the way players see him on TV and even talk to their mates who have played for him, I think everyone in the squad has a very positive feeling about him," says McGhee. "I expected the boys to react well to him and they have. They have been quite wide-eyed and willing. I think that's a great thing and it's now up to Gordon and the rest of us to give them something back, something that will help them and make them better."
Strachan's ultimate prize to Scotland would be a finals return. The opening soundbites, albeit familiar, provide encouragement.