Uproar over Boyd decision puts Burley on defensive

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George Burley could barely conceal his exasperation yesterday at having to defend his decision not to play Kris Boyd at any stage during Scotland's 0-0 draw with Norway on Saturday. "Really I shouldn't be here today," Burley said during a press conference, hastily convened at Hampden in response to Boyd's announcement on Sunday that he will not play for Scotland while Burley is the manager.

Scotland's hopes of reaching South Africa in 2010 were dented by the stalemate, during which Boyd, 25, with seven Scotland goals in 14 games, spent the whole match on the bench while two inexperienced internationals, Chris Iwelumo and Steven Fletcher, were used as substitutes ahead of him.

Burley effectively questioned Boyd's commitment to his country. "For me, it's important that players show commitment and passion to play for their country," said Burley.

"There are [decisions] where you may be upset but it's your country we're talking about. As far as I'm concerned, I only want people who are totally committed to their country."

Boyd is a prolific striker but to many his overall work-rate is low, a string of managers have doubted his credentials in big games, and a majority of his goals have been scored against lowly opponents.

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