Aberdeen legend Alex McLeish says he only found out about internet rumours regarding his health during his second spell as Scotland boss after a phonecall from his son.
Gothenburg Great McLeish, 61, left the Scotland manager’s job for the second time in April 2019 after a 3-0 loss in Kazakhstan and underwhelming win in San Marino during Euro 2020 qualifying.
Internet whispers and some media reports suggested there was a “deeply troubling incident” in the dressing room in San Marino, sparking concerns McLeish was suffering from early onset dementia.
However, in an interview with the Daily Mail, McLeish – who made close to 700 appearances as an Aberdeen player – has revealed he’s been given a clean bill of health from medics.
“I’m aware of how the internet works,” he said. “I’m not a dinosaur in that respect.
“I have kids and grandkids that are all over it. But I was never one for logging on and Googling my own name to see what the reaction was to me.
“I knew I would be getting dog’s abuse – so why go looking for it?
“That’s why I was unaware of connotations and rumours of me being ill and so on.
“I didn’t know people were saying stuff about my health on the internet. But then, a couple of days after the qualifier in San Marino, my son Jon phoned me and asked, ‘Has something happened over there?’.”
McLeish says he simply left the dressing room in San Marino, having forgotten a word during his team talk.
He said: “I just had a blank with a word I needed to say in a speech, I walked out the room and came back in and that probably didn’t look good.
“I was embarrassed at losing my thread. I couldn’t believe I could do that.
“The irony is that when the reports of the incident in San Marino emerged, I was in the process of doing my annual medical tests with the League Managers’ Association.
“They were more concerned with the heart and fitness tests and stuff. But I have now had absolutely everything checked.
“I was an ongoing process and I still had things to do at the time, but I have now done every test and I am absolutely fine.”