By Christopher Hall
The long running saga of Rangers striker Nacho Novo’s eligibility to play for his adopted nation Scotland gained no further progress yesterday.
Scotland Manager George Burley has yet to make an official statement on the issue but has expressed his desire that the bit-part winger be allowed to turn out for the national side if he obtains citizenship and is playing well for his club.
The Spaniard has no Scottish relatives but has lived in the country for over eight years and is currently eligible for a British passport.
Novo started his career with Raith Rovers in 2001 after moving from Spanish Minnows SD Huesca. He then enjoyed 2 years with Dundee before making a dream switch to Glasgow giants Rangers for £450,000 in the summer of 2004, expressing his desire to remain in Scotland for the remainder of his career.
But former Scotland midfielder, Murdo Macleod, has urged FIFA to re-consider their residency rulings, which would make the Spaniard the first non-related Scottish player to pull on the dark blue jersey.
He said: “With football laws, I think you have to look at people who are born here, that your parents are Scottish or go as far back as your grandparents”
In contrast, SFA spokesman Rob Shorthouse added fuel to the flames by insisting that the Forward would certainly be considered In Burley’s setup if granted dual nationality.
Shorthouse commented: “I know George Peat expressed his own personal opinion that it should be based on bloodlines but the regulations are that if he is eligible he’ll be considered.”
“If a player is eligible then, like any other player, he will be up for consideration”.
The statement comes only weeks after Rangers Striker Kris Boyd, 25, expressed his intentions to never again play for the national team under George Burley after the Scotland gaffer chose debutant Chris Ilewumo over the Ibrox hitman in the recent draw with Norway at Hampden.