Burley sacked as Scotland boss

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The Independent Online

The Scottish Football Association tonight confirmed George Burley's sacking as Scotland manager.

The SFA acted quickly after Scotland fans turned on Burley during Saturday's 3-0 friendly defeat by Wales.

Chief executive Gordon Smith canvassed his 10 colleagues on the SFA board and they came to a unanimous decision to terminate his contract.

The SFA had given Burley a vote of confidence despite his failure to make the World Cup play-offs.

But subsequent defeats by Japan, and Wales in particular, made Burley's position untenable.

Smith said: "The decision was taken after a meeting with the board of directors and, subsequently, the national coach. The board was in unanimous agreement.

"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.

"I should point out that the Scottish FA stands by its decision to give the national coach our full support despite failure to qualify for the World Cup play-offs.

"It would have been negligent not to have given George every opportunity to rebuild and revitalise the squad in light of the improved performances in the last two qualifiers against Macedonia and Holland.

"Unfortunately, the adverse results in the two subsequent friendly matches against Japan and Wales provided confirmation that the improvement could not be sustained.

"On a personal note, I would like to thank George for his contribution and, on behalf of the Scottish FA, I wish him all the best for the future."

Burley dodged questions on his future following the defeat in Cardiff before admitting the decision lay out of his hands.

He said in the SFA statement: "I would like to take the opportunity to express my thanks to my backroom team, the Scottish FA, the players and the Tartan Army for the support they have shown throughout my tenure as national coach and I wish the national team success for the future."

SFA president George Peat added: "I would like to echo the sentiments of the chief executive and stress that today's decision has not been taken lightly.

"The board will now enter into a period of private discussion to ensure the Scottish FA finds the best candidate ahead of the qualification campaign for Euro 2012."

Burley was handed the "full backing" of the SFA shortly after Scotland's World Cup qualifying hopes ended in September with a spirited 1-0 defeat by Holland, which followed a 2-0 victory over Macedonia.

A review of the campaign by the four SFA office bearers, in the company of Burley, concluded it was "clear" Scotland were "moving in the right direction".

Burley escaped widespread criticism following last month's 2-0 friendly defeat in Japan after nine of his original squad withdrew injured.

But a significant proportion of the 4,000-strong travelling support turned their ire towards the manager, as well as the SFA regime, after Scotland conceded three first-half goals against a youthful and injury-hit Welsh squad.

That fateful afternoon in Cardiff left Burley with a record of eight defeats and only three victories in his 14 matches in charge.

Two of those wins came against Iceland in a qualifying group that saw Scotland finish third behind Holland and Norway, who failed to make the play-offs because their record was the worst of the nine European runners-up.

Scotland only scored six goals in the campaign and have failed to find the net in nine of Burley's 14 matches.

Burley has also presided over crises including Kris Boyd's decision to make himself unavailable during his regime and international bans for skipper Barry Ferguson and Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

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