(CNN) -- Craig Levein has left Dundee United to take charge of the struggling Scottish national side.
The 45-year-old former Scottish international defender had been widely expected to take over from the sacked George Burley and was offically confirmed in his job at a press conference on Wednesday evening.
"While it is a great honour to be asked to manage your country, it was a very difficult decision to leave Dundee United," he told the club's official Web site.
"I have, and will continue to have, a great affection and respect for the club and its supporters, who have given me such strong support from the day I arrived."
Levein has signed a two and a half year deal, taking him up to the European Championships in 2012.
Burley's failure to qualify Scotland for next year's World Cup, added to a humiliating 3-0 friendly defeat to Wales last month, cost him his job.
Levein, who earned 16 caps for Scotland, has also managed Cowdenbeath, Hearts and Raith Rovers with a spell in charge of English second-flight Leicester City.
Dundee United are challenging for European football this season and were given a sizeable compensation package from the Scottish FA for the services of Levein, reported to be close to $400,000.
Inclement weather in Scotland delayed Levein's official unveiling, but his first important date will be the draw for qualifying for the European Championships on February 7.
Scotland came close to reaching Euro 2008, pressing former world champions France very hard, but their subseqent World Cup qualifying campaign was a big disappointment.
In other international news, Vicente Del Bosque has been given a two-year contract extension as coach of the Spanish national team, taking him up to 2012.
The 59-year-old Del Bosque has lost just one match since taking over from Luis Aragones in 2008, to the United States in the Confederations Cup.