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Boyd has let his country down by quitting - Scotland coach

* Ewan Murray

George Burley yesterday accused Kris Boyd of lacking respect for Scotland and for the national team's manager by refusing to be considered for future international squads while Burley remained in control.

That announcement triggered an unseemly aftermath to Saturday's scoreless draw with Norway at Hampden Park and an acerbic Scotland manager yesterday highlighted the Rangers forward's decision to "turn his back" on his country. "I think he has shown a lack of respect to his country and myself," Burley said.

Boyd, who has featured in only 28 minutes of international football since Burley was appointed in January, joins his Rangers club-mate Lee McCulloch in withdrawing his services. The Rangers and Scotland captain, Barry Ferguson, now 30, has already admitted he will consider his international future at the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Burley, visibly perplexed at having to explain the situation at a hastily arranged news conference, said: "For me, it's important that players show commitment and passion to play for their country. There are areas where you may be upset, but it's your country. They come in, they stay in five-star hotels and in this day and age they have massive wages. How much do you care?

"You don't need to like everybody. What we need are people willing to fight for the cause, go to war for the country, roll your sleeves up and go for it. The only ones I'm interested in are those who want to play for their country, those who are committed. The others don't come into play for me."

Burley was relaxed about his unwillingness to use Boyd more than sparinglyeven though the 25-year-old has scored seven times in 15 appearances, because, despite a similarly impressive return for Rangers, he has also failed to command a regular place at Ibrox. The Scotland manager then highlighted recent "big games" such as those against Celtic and Hibernian, as well as last season's Uefa Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg, as occasions when Boyd was not deemed worthy of a starting berth.

"Kris has got to get his act together in terms of establishing himself at Rangers," Burley added. "Walter Smith [the Rangers manager], for me, is one of the best in Britain. In the last year Kris hasn't been a regular. That tells you there is maybe something not right.

"I went to a World Cup with Scotland and didn't play. It is a big honour to be called up by your country. He doesn't want to play, which is very disappointing. When you are born and bred in the country and turn your back, it is a big thing."

Boyd's move has given rise to speculation that others in the international setup may be unhappy with the regime and that further premature retirements may be imminent. But some senior players, though conceding that Burley's style is markedly different from those of his immediate predecessors, Alex McLeish and Smith, share his unhappiness at the forward's actions and unhelpful timing.

Scotland currently lie second in Group Nine but their prospects of making it to South Africa in 2010 now probably rest upon gaining some reward from matches in Norway and the Netherlands.

"I have played at every level for my country, been a manager for 18 years at the top in Scotland and England and have managed [Ipswich Town] in Europe," Burley said. "I was given the job by the Scottish FA having earned it. People can form their opinions but I have earned the right and I will do my best. Reputations won't bother me."

Taken from the Guardian/Observer

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