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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 19:51 GMT
Scots stand by interview process
SFA chief executive Gordon Smith with new Scotland boss George Burley
SFA chief executive Gordon Smith was critical of media coverage
The Scottish FA defended their recruitment method as they unveiled new Scotland manager George Burley.

During the media call, chief executive Gordon Smith said: "It's interesting that there are so many questions.

"It has been astonishing the people saying, 'What is the point of interviewing for a manager's job?'.

"You are all asking questions, don't you think it was appropriate that we asked questions in terms of what George was going to do?"

Burley's status as the preferred candidate from a four-man shortlist had leaked earlier in the week.

The 51-year-old saw off competition from Graeme Souness, Mark McGhee and Tommy Burns after meetings with the SFA's four-man panel.

But bickering with the assembled media threatened to overshadow what should have been Burley's big moment.

I was reading things in the paper that I was astounded by
Gordon Smith

SFA president George Peat opened proceedings by saying: "The board has been criticised in some quarters over the method of recruitment.

"But the same process was used in the appointment of Walter Smith and Alex McLeish and I don't think anyone would deny that these were successful.

"Some reporters said that, of our preferred candidates, several had withdrawn.

"Nobody withdrew and I would also emphasise that the decision of the selection committee was unanimous."

Smith then claimed interviewing four candidates was a better method than the Republic of Ireland's bid to find a new manager.

"Every time they identify somebody privately, it comes out and then the next person becomes second choice," he explained.

"I did say right at the very start that we would have someone in place by the end of January."

McGhee downplayed an incident on Tuesday when he thought he was being told in a live television interview that Burley had been chosen, but admitted he would have preferred to have received a call from the SFA.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

However, Smith said: "He didn't find out that George got the job from Sky Sports because George didn't get the job until today.

"There were still negotiations to go on with a football club, negotiations with a contract.

"The bookies had closed bets on three other candidates at different times. Did that mean to say that came from us, where did that come from?

"I was reading things in the paper that I was astounded by - that so and so was getting the job, this person had refused an interview. Where did that come from?"

Smith later revealed that "meaningful talks" have been held with the English FA about a possible friendly date at Wembley.



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