By Al Innes
George Burley has been sacked as manager of Scotland. The national team’s defeat by Wales on Saturday was the last act of a man who has been under siege ever since Scotland failed to Qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Burley has won only three of his fourteen matches in charge of the national side with the team failing to find the net since April Fool’s Day of this year. The five matches since then have seen Burley’s side ship goals to Japan, Holland and most recently against the Welsh, sinking to a 3-0 defeat in Cardiff. Burley’s number two, former England international Terry Butcher, will also leave his post.
The former Hearts and Ipswich manager was contracted until 2012 but SFA chief executive Gordon Smith decided to terminate Burley’s charge after a unanimous vote from his board.
“The decision was taken after a meeting with the board of directors and, subsequently, the national coach. The board was in unanimous agreement.” Said Smith.
“It should be stressed that the decision was not a direct consequence of Saturday’s unacceptable 3-0 defeat to Wales but, rather, a realisation that the expectations of the supporters, the Scottish FA and George himself, were not being met.”
Burley’s position had been difficult since Scotland’s passionate display against Holland in the closing game of the 2010 qualifiers ended in disaster. While the defeat against the Welsh demonstrated a lack of support from both the fans and the players as dejected looks from the team were accompanied by jeers from the crowd demanding Burley’s resignation.
Burely, who played over six-hundred games as a professional footballer, said after the Wales game that Scotland “fell apart“. He described the display against the Welsh, ranked 78th in the world, as “ridiculous” and concluded that “overall [the team performance] was shocking”. Scotland’s failure to score goals has been seen by many as the major failing of Scotland’s recent friendly results.
With no matches scheduled until next March, when Scotland host the Czech Republic, there is plenty of time for Scotland to consider a successor to Geoge Burley. The SFA hope to have a replacement in position by February, with Walter Smith and Craig Levein in the running to replace Burley, who was capped eleven times for Scotland.
Early rumours highlight that Walter Smith’s contract is up for renewal at Rangers in January with the former Everton manager having coached the national team before. So far Graeme Sounness has ruled himself out of taking the post.
Scotland are currently placed 46th in the official FIFA world rankings.