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Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 12:39 UK

McLeish backs Scots boss Burley

Former Scotland manager Alex McLeish
McLeish is now managing in the English top flight with Birmingham

Former Scotland boss Alex McLeish says his under-fire successor George Burley should be given more time in the job.

Burley will discuss his future with the Scottish FA next week after a failed World Cup qualification campaign.

"I think George should stay in charge," said McLeish, who left Scotland to take over at Birmingham in November 2007.

"Momentum is key in any management job. It's been a tough assignment for him and he's had a lot of criticism. But we've got to give him some respect."

Since filling the post vacated by McLeish, Burley has only managed to register three wins from 12 games in charge.

On Wednesday, Scotland's chances of reaching the World Cup finals in South Africa next year were finally snuffed out when they were defeated at home by the Netherlands.

I would still have stayed on - why shouldn't George stay on?

Alex McLeish

Burley's team finished third in qualifying Group 9, behind Netherlands and second-placed Norway.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said that he will consult Burley over his plans for the future when they meet next week to review the campaign.

However, after watching Scotland's performances against the Dutch and Macedonia, McLeish hopes that the same man will be at the helm for the 2012 European Championship campaign.

"I know that after how Scotland did earlier in the group criticism will be levelled at George," said McLeish, who took Scotland to the brink of qualifying for the 2008 European Championship.


"But there were signs of a good understanding and good spirit amongst the group of players for these past two games.

"It is a failed campaign and people might say we have got to dispense with the manager.

"But I would still have stayed on - why shouldn't George stay on?

"The names of people like Gordon Strachan and Graeme Souness will come up but I think it will be a wise decision to keep George on."

McLeish's view was echoed by the last manager to lead Scotland to a major tournament, Craig Brown, although he concedes Burley was slow to find his feet in the role.

"I personally would keep George and I'd say to him, 'Get these young guys together and let's have a go for the next campaign'," said Brown.

"It's a young, vibrant team now but it's taken too long to arrive at that team throughout the campaign, I think."

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see also
Scots set sights too high - Moyes
11 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Scots to consider Burley future
10 Sep 09 |  Internationals
End in sight for brave Burley
10 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Coyle offers Burley his backing
10 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Scotland v Netherlands pictures
09 Sep 09 |  Scotland
Scotland 0-1 Netherlands
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals

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