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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 16:44 UK

Should Burley stay or go?

Scotland manager George Burley

Defeat by the Netherlands at Hampden on Wednesday night was the final blow to Scotland's World Cup 2010 campaign.

George Burley's team finished third in Group Nine behind the Netherlands and Norway and so failed to stay in the running for a play-off place.

In modern football, the manager is generally where the buck stops and Burley is due to meet with his Scottish Football Association bosses next week to discuss the way forward for the national team.

Since taking over in January 2008, Burley has won three games from a possible 12, although there have been shoots of recovery in the final group matches against Macedonia and the Netherlands.

Here, Murdo MacLeod and Kevin Gallacher, who both represented Scotland at World Cups, put their cases for and against bringing in a new Scotland manager.

Murdo MacLeod
By Murdo MacLeod
20 caps for Scotland

I think George Burley was always going to be judged on the success of the qualification campaign.

Success, as far as I'm concerned, would have been to get into the play-offs. Failing that, we should at least have got second place in the group.

But third place wasn't good enough in possibly the easiest groups of all.

There were so many mistakes throughout the campaign.


The team played well in the second half against Macedonia on Saturday and in the first half against the Netherlands.

I still think, on the park, things have mostly gone wrong for George. But also off the park things have gone poorly and there've been so many problems.

I've never seen - under any manager - so many players not wanting to play for their country. And that's so unusual in an international team.

Rangers striker Kris Boyd
Boyd left the Scotland set-up after the home draw with Norway

I don't think we are too quick to get rid of managers. Football's all about results and we haven't had enough good ones. We never gave ourselves a chance to qualify.

The Netherlands match wasn't the main problem. The players knew it was the last chance and they gave it their all.

That should have been the case from the first game in Macedonia.

At home against Norway - their poorest side in years - is the game that could have made the difference for getting the play-off spot.

The Kris Boyd decision just baffled me. To put uncapped players on the field against Norway before the man who's been the Scottish top goal-scorer, for me that was a major mistake.

You just need to look around the groups and the teams we feel we're stronger than - like Northern Ireland, for example. They're doing well and looking like they can qualify from second spot.

We were only in contention going into the last game because the other teams were taking points off each other.

After the last two games, people might think things are improving a bit, but we got three points from two homes at the end of the campaign.

Any new manager will have the same players as we're not going to unearth any hidden stars.

But whoever takes over can learn from the mistakes of his predecessors and can put his own plan together on how to treat the players and get them organised.

The job needs a man with a strong personality, a good man manager, someone with a reputation who'll command instant respect.

Kevin Gallacher
By Kevin Gallacher
53 caps for Scotland

I think Scotland should stick with George Burley.

He's had one campaign to work with the players and he's had to deal with a lot of problems like player situations you hope wouldn't have happened.

He's just getting the side together now after 12 games and we should give him the chance to see if he can kick on in the Euro 2012 campaign.

To start afresh, I think, would send us a little bit backwards.

Obviously, there have been some strange decisions, but he's learning as an international manager.

We've failed this time, but I think another shot would benefit the players who are just getting to know George

Kevin Gallacher

It's a different job from club level and you're going to make mistakes. But it's how you learn from them that's important and I think George has learned.

People have spoken about him having lost the dressing-room. But you only have to look at the performance against the Netherlands and the second half against Macedonia.

If that's anything to go by, I don't think he has lost the dressing-room.

We had a nice little purple patch in a couple of qualifying campaigns and now we're on a bit of a downer again.

We haven't qualified for a major competition since 1998 and it's disappointing.

But, with the quality of player we have just now, we don't seem to be able to finish teams off.

Scotland's Paul hartley holds off the Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder
Gallacher feels Burley's side is showing improvement

You would like to think the Kris Boyd situation would be sorted, but it's not just George Burley - he hadn't been getting picked for his club on a regular basis.

But he's a natural goal-scorer and I would welcome him back as what we need right now is someone who can score goals.

George's record is not great, but you've got to look at some of the players. We've been creating chances, but we're lacking goals.

But, at the start of this campaign, we weren't even creating chances.

George has got them playing a new, more attacking style and he has got the team playing for him. It's just unfortunate things didn't go our way, but he's working hard at it.

It's better to have someone in place that knows the job. I think changing managers now would be a big disruption. We'd be taking on our fourth manager in six years. It's crazy.

The job will be even harder for the next man. So why start again if we are on a bit of a roll at the minute?

We have to hope we get a decent draw for the European Championship qualifiers and get a rub of the green.

George has had the hard times, let's hope he has things a bit easier like some of his predecessors have.

I would hope he is told at his meeting with the SFA next week to carry on until through to the end of the next campaign.

Murdo MacLeod and Kevin Gallacher were speaking to BBC Scotland's David McDaid

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see also
Scots to consider Burley future
10 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Burley keen to stay as Scots boss
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
End in sight for brave Burley
10 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Scotland 0-1 Netherlands
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Chick Young's view
07 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Scotland XI
10 Nov 05 |  Internationals
Scots World Cup dream still alive
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals

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