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Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Saturday, 5 September 2009 18:02 UK

Burley praises players and fans

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Burley delight at team effort

Scotland manager George Burley praised his players and the supporters after the vital 2-0 World Cup qualifier win over Macedonia at Hampden.

"It was a great team performance," said Burley. "The fans were magnificent. The atmosphere was great and the side on the pitch didn't let them down.

"Macedonia, we knew, were a decent side but the longer the game went I thought we would be stronger and we were.

"We created a number of chances. The team out there did us proud."

The Scotland manager went into the match under intense pressure following the recent dismal 4-0 defeat by Norway in Oslo.

Burley knew Scotland simply had to beat Macedonia and follow that up with a win over the Netherlands in the final Group Nine match on Wednesday to have a chance of reaching the play-offs.

And he was forced into making early substitution when Callum Davidson had to go off with an injury, with Steven Whittaker replacing the full-back.

After the match, Burley confirmed to BBC Scotland that Davidson would miss Wednesday's Netherlands match and expressed his relief that the arrival of Shaun Maloney to the fray had paid off.

He said: "Sometimes as a manager you see aspects where you think things aren't quite right and you have to fine-tune it and we did that today and it worked well.

"We had one or two knocks and I wasn't sure who was going to finish the 90 minutes. I would like to thank the fans for their support today.

"It's all about the team and everybody played their part today. It was a great feeling to come off the park with so many happy, smiling faces.

"We're taking it to the last game of the group against a top-class Dutch team.

"If they show the same commitment and passion and generate the same atmosphere on Wednesday, who knows?"

One of Scotland's goalscoring heroes, James McFadden, will miss the game against the Netherlands after being booked at the end of the first half by referee Wolfgang Stark.

Tempers frayed when Scott Brown, in a drop-ball, won a corner rather than returning the ball to Macedonia whose player had suffered a facial injury.

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The Macedonian players surrounded Brown to complain and in the ensuing melee, McFadden was shown a yellow card.

"I was surprised it was James who was booked. I don't know if it was mistaken identity," said Burley.

"We'll speak to the relevant people to see if there is an appeal procedure. That's something we'll have to question."

McFadden told BBC Scotland: "I'm absolutely gutted. The referee said it was for lack of fair play.

"Because we never gave them the ball back, he booked me for it but I only went to take the corner."

Brown scored Scotland's opener with a glancing header from Steven Fletcher's inviting cross.

But he may join McFadden in the list of absentees for the Netherlands match, having hobbled off at Hampden to be replaced by Paul Hartley.

Brown said: "I've had a slight problem with my ankle for a couple of weeks and it's starting to niggle me again so we'll need to see how it goes.

"Scoring the goal was probably one of the proudest moments of my life.

"The fans were brilliant today. I think the team, especially in the second half, had a lot more energy than they had and we were composed and kept the ball."

The Celtic midfielder was angered by his team-mate's booking and said he was surprised at the Macedonian reaction at the drop-ball.

"It was a 50-50. The ref threw it down and I flicked it off the guy and it went out for a corner and they all came running over," said the 24-year-old.

"James tried to protect me and calm me down. He somehow got booked. It was a shocking decision, to be fair."



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see also
Celtic's Fox eyes Scotland debut
06 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Scotland 0-1 Netherlands
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Scotland 2-0 Macedonia
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals


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