Butcher open to Boyd return

Scotland assistant talks of 'second chance' for striker who turned back on nation
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The Independent Football

Terry Butcher admits he would not be opposed to Kris Boyd playing for Scotland again after watching the Rangers striker score 18 goals this season. The national team assistant manager insists the final decision would have to lie with manager George Burley if the 25-year-old did change his mind.

Boyd informed Burley he no longer wanted to be considered for selection during his tenure after the goalless draw with Norway in October, claiming he had not been given a chance by the manager.

Butcher said: "The situation is that he doesn't want to play for George Burley. That situation hasn't changed as far as we are concerned. If he made a phone call and decided to go about things in a different way and wanted to play, that's up to him and George. I can't speak for them.

"Sometimes you need second chances. I've had third, fourth, fifth chances. Who's to say? But it's not my decision."

Asked whether Burley would ever make the first move, Butcher added: "I can't speak for George. That's his choice. I just want to see Scottish players doing well."

The former Rangers defender believes Boyd's decision to quit Scotland acted as the catalyst for his current sparkling form with Rangers. He said: "If you have a personal cause, that can make you play better and give you the incentive to do even better. Kris has had that.

"A lot of people asked how he would respond and he has responded very well. A lot of the players have said they are seeing a different Kris Boyd in the way that he runs around and contributes to the general play, which is fantastic."

Former Scotland and Celtic striker Frank McAvennie insists Burley must end the dispute with Boyd for the sake of the nation's World Cup qualification hopes. He said: "The Scotland manager has a big problem. I was the one who backed Boyd and I think he should have played in that game, even if it was for the last 20 minutes.

"Since then, George Burley must be sitting very uncomfortably because Boyd is scoring every week and [Rangers manager] Walter Smith is playing him every week. George has to go cap in hand and get Boyd back because we don't have a lot of strikers. They should work it out because he is a proven goalscorer.

"I think Kenny Miller and Boyd are the two players who can get us the points we need."

McAvennie also fears Boyd could make all the difference against Celtic in this weekend's highly-anticipated Old Firm derby. He added: "I've already been quoted as saying I think Rangers might win the next three Old Firm games but Celtic will still win the league because Celtic have more in their locker.

"But Kris Boyd is scoring and he is the difference at the moment. I think he could cause Celtic problems. He hasn't played against Celtic much, which is great. As a striker, I look at him and think he is dangerous. He is like Coisty [Ally McCoist]. Coisty is obviously working with Boyd and he is working his backside off."

Rangers head into the clash at Ibrox trailing Celtic by four points and, despite claiming the fixture is less controversial than the ones he enjoyed himself as a player, Butcher predicts there could be fireworks on Saturday.

"We used to kick lumps out of each other and you could do that legally," he said. "You can't do that now, you can't go near anyone now or you get a yellow card. But it can kick off with a team scoring a goal or missing a tackle. There is so much more at stake now and it's so close between Rangers and Celtic that anything can happen, anything can set it off.

"There seems to be more pressure on the players now because the results mean so much and the league means so much. Rangers want to win that title back and they are playing catch-up, which is not a position they want to be in. Rangers want it desperately and sometimes if you want something really desperately, you will overstep the mark and do things."