Vogts hints at Burns for Scotland support act

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The Independent Football

Berti Vogts, the new Scotland coach, has confirmed that Tommy Burns is in the running to become his assistant.

Vogts has made it clear that his No 2 will be a Scot, although the German Wolfgang Rolf – who worked with Vogts at Bayer Leverkusen and with the Kuwait national side – could be installed as a full-time Under-21 coach to replace the Dundee United manager, Alex Smith, who holds the post on a part-time basis.

Burns, who was capped eight times for Scotland in the Eighties, is currently director of youth development at Celtic.

Vogts, who takes over officially on 1 March, said: "Tommy Burns is a good guy. He is on the list."

Vogts has also been speaking about his enthusiasm for the game. The German insists he is still as passionate about his football as he was when he led the German national side to success at Euro 96.

The 55-year-old will become Scotland's first foreign manager when his contract as Kuwait coach expires. It will be almost four years since he stepped down as Germany manager – a position he held for eight years – after elimination from the World Cup quarter-finals by Croatia.

Vogts spent two years out of management after that World Cup disappointment before returning for a short stint at Bayer Leverkusen. A year in Kuwait followed.

However, he is now delighted to be back in the "European melting pot of football" having agreed a four-year deal to try to take Scotland to Euro 2004 and beyond.

But he insisted the years away from management had been used to keep abreast of coaching developments at the highest level. "After 1998, after 21 years working for the German federation, I needed time to be by myself. I moved to Spain and stayed for three weeks with Real Madrid. I worked for Alex Ferguson and spent three weeks with Manchester United. I observed Arsène Wenger [the Arsenal manager] for two weeks and I was also at Tottenham Hotspur. It was to find out what was new in football.

" I also spent three weeks in Brazil with Flamengo. I think I did a good job at Bayer Leverkusen. We qualified for the Champions' League. But I spoke to my friends and decided I needed distance from German football. Kuwait offered me a contract for only one year. I needed that distance and it was a different world, the Arab world."

Scotland are in the same Euro 2004 qualifying group as Rudi Völler's Germany and Vogts admitted the two matches would be "special games" for him. "The Germans are not happy with the draw. And I don't think they are happy I have become the Scotland manager," he said. "Rudi Voller worked with me at Leverkusen. We are good, good friends."

Clubs with large debts will not be allowed to play in the Champions' League or the Uefa Cup under new Uefa plans. Uefa's chief executive, Gerhard Aigner, has said that excessive spending is giving clubs an unfair advantage over rivals who keep their books in order.

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