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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Lambert's quit threat
Lambert at the airport as Celtic fly to Switzerland
Paul Lambert fields questions from the media
Celtic captain Paul Lambert will quit international football for the second and final time if Scotland lose their opening two Euro 2004 qualification games.

As the experienced midfielder defended his international teammates from criticism by Scotland coach Berti Vogts, he stressed that he would not hang about if things continue to go badly.

Lambert came out of international retirement to help Vogts reshape the Scotland team.

But after Vogts was critical of Lambert and Rangers' Barry Ferguson, as well as Aberdeen's Kevin McNaughton, following last week's 1-0 defeat by Denmark, the Celtic star made his position clear.


You can't build up young kids then knock them down because you'll hurt them
Paul Lambert
Scotland captain
"The situation is that if everything is going well right through to next summer and we've got a chance of qualification then I'll see it through," he said.

"But if we lose the first two games, and qualification is not possible then I'll be finished. That was the agreement with the manager. We must win them.

"If we've no chance to qualify then I've given it my best and the manager knows that.

"It wasn't for my benefit that I came back, it was for the benefit of the youngsters. If qualification won't be possible then it'll be time to let them go their own way and see what happens."

While Vogts' comments about the performance of individual players after the Denmark defeat have been blown out of all proportion, Lambert was concerned that the young players' confidence would be affected by such comments.

He also described criticism of Barry Ferguson as "incredible".

"You have to remember that you can't build up young kids then knock them down because you'll hurt them," he added.

"They're the ones people are relying on to take them through to a major championship.

"By all accounts Barry Ferguson also got criticism but take him out of the team and you're left without anyone with the authority to take the ball and try and make things happen.

"Players are big enough to handle criticism but you've got to keep the young kids on a high. There's no point in knocking them and then they go to the Faroes in their shell."

The Scotland squad regroups on Monday ahead of the opening Euro 2004 qualifier against the Faroe Islands.

See also:

23 Aug 02 | Scotland
21 Aug 02 | Scotland
21 Aug 02 | Scotland
21 Aug 02 | Football
Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


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