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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 11:30 GMT
Scottish FA plays down Burns link
Celtic coach Tommy Burns
Tommy Burns already has coaching experience with the Scotland set-up
Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith has denied the appointment of Billy Stark is a precursor to Tommy Burns being made national team boss.

Stark, who assisted Burns at Kilmarnock and Celtic, is the new youth teams coach and Scotland Under-21 manager.

But Smith said: "Billy is a separate appointment and the national manager's appointment will be separate as well."

Along with Burns, Graeme Souness, Mark McGhee and George Burley are being considered for the post.

Alex McLeish left Scotland to take over at Birmingham in late November after less than a year in the job.

And the SFA hopes to have the new man in place within the next three weeks.

"The process is on-going at the moment and we are narrowing it down," said Smith.

"We would like to have somebody in position by the end of January.

"We are pleased that there is enough interest and people see it as an honour to be the manager of the national team."


On Stark's new post, Smith added: "The process began when Alex McLeish was in the job and Billy, or whoever was appointed, was to be working alongside Alex McLeish, that was our thoughts," added Smith.

"Whoever becomes national team manager we hope can work along with Billy but this gives no indication whatsoever."

Celtic coach Burns, 51, looked to be favourite for the role in January last year when Walter Smith resigned as Scotland boss to return to Rangers.

Mark McGhee and George Burley
McGhee (left) and Burley are in the frame for the Scotland job

He had been on the Scotland staff under both Smith and Berti Vogts, and was keen to take the top job in his own right, but withdrew from the race when the SFA made no contact with him.

Southampton boss Burley has indicated he would be interested in the job.

Speaking in December, he said: "About 500 people have been linked with the job. If you have a Scottish accent, you've got a chance.

"But any opportunity to manage the national team is something I'd be interested in."

Former Scotland skipper Gary McAllister and Everton manager David Moyes were quick to rule themselves out of the running.

But McAllister said he believed former Rangers and Liverpool manager Souness had the experience and credentials to be a success in international management.

McGhee has made an impressive start to his first season in charge at Motherwell.

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