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Chick Young's view

Chick Young
By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent

In the end George was slain by the Dragon.

The Scotland manager was consumed by fire in Wales, failing disgracefully to extinguish the flames of a team who are somewhere in the depths of the Fifa rankings.

One afternoon in Cardiff brought shame and scandal on the Scottish football family: but in truth the fury, the disgust and indeed the apathy of the support had been building.

And in the final analysis it is the third of these three emotions which left the Scottish Football Association with no choice but to bin their manager.

George Burley
Burley's troubled reign lasted 22 months

In Cardiff 3,200 Scottish fans bothered to turn up of the 4,000 who bought tickets and security sources at the stadium informed me that 500 of them left in the wake of the second Welsh goal.

There was just over half an hour gone.

Meanwhile, in pubs in Scotland I know of several fans who turned their attention from the television showing the football to the one broadcasting, of all things, a rugby international involving our national team and a side who think that in November Scotland is a more attractive place than Fiji.

So who on earth is going to turn up for a springtime Hampden friendly against the Czech Republic?

This Scottish team may be many things, but they sure ain't box office. And that counts above everything else.

Poor George Burley, a thoroughly nice man. And I really thought there was hope for the future when he defeated Macedonia and triggered a spark of something against Holland.

But it was a false dawn.


His tenure patently didn't work as his coaching team dismantled before his very eyes.

The inexperienced Steven Pressley was a curious appointment and it was no shock when Elvis left the building.

Burley's number two, Terry Butcher, didn't even attend the last two matches in Japan and Wales because of commitments with Inverness.

And then there is Paul Hegarty, a genuine bloke and a fine professional, who must be the unluckiest guy in football, ill-treated by fortune again after being battered by Livingston and Dundee United, among others.

It's the manager and his backroom team who faced the firing squad, but the players are highly culpable.

Some in the Cardiff team are clearly nowhere good enough for international football, but if you are talking commitment then I could have snatched 11 guys from the stands who would have given Burley more.

Now what? Who's next for shaving? Or throat-cutting if it again goes horribly wrong?

For me, the only genuine hope of salvation is Walter Smith or Craig Levein but there is much wooing to be done if either is to accept.

Can I point out that Kris Boyd will now welcome an invitation back into the fold?

Chick Young

And the Tartan Army had better stifle the nonsense about Smith being a traitor to the cause because he walked out before.

It was Smith who cleaned up the mess left behind by Berti Vogts and then hoovered up after Paul Le Guen at Ibrox.

Crisis management has become his speciality act. And believe me, my friends, this is an almighty crisis.

An outside bet, though, is Billy Stark, who could follow the career path of Andy Roxburgh who succeeded Jock Stein after a highly successful period with the Scotland youth team.

And, if you will forgive me a totally unfashionable moment of praise for the Gordon Smith regime, the current SFA chief executive's Under-21 coach is doing a fine job.

Meanwhile, how could it have come to this? It's the darkest, most depressing football winter that hangs on us now.

Maybe there are better days to come.

Can I point out that Kris Boyd will now welcome an invitation back into the fold and the new manager can lift the ban on Allan McGregor and Barry Ferguson...

And boy, do we need a drink.

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see also
Duo keen on Scotland manager role
17 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Scotland's search begins
18 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Burley sacked as Scotland manager
16 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Burley's reign in pictures
16 Nov 09 |  Scotland
The rise and fall of Burley
16 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Scotland are limited says Souness
16 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Storm clouds gather over Scots
15 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Brown concern over Scots plight
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Scotland 'fell apart' - Burley
14 Nov 09 |  Scotland
Fletcher laments 'basic errors'
14 Nov 09 |  Scotland
Burley reeling after Scots loss
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Wales 3-0 Scotland
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals

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