Monday, September 8, 2008

Rangers star snubs Scotland - report

Following my recent comments about the state of international football, I was not too surprised to read a report in this morning's Daily Record claiming Rangers player Lee McCulloch has told the Scottish FA he does not want to be considered for selection as long as George Burley is in charge.

If McCulloch has actually told the SFA this, he should be given a clear-cut answer: If you don't want to play under Burley, you'll never play again. Because why should a player be able to walk away from the international stage, only to walk back in a year or so?

Without wishing to go over old ground, footballers used to be proud to play for their country, whether it be England, Scotland, Australia or Senegal. A player would always try his best for his club in an attempt to be spotted by his national manager, hoping to one day pull on his country's jersey alongside other players.

According to the Record, McCulloch "will refuse to play for Scotland again while George Burley is in charge". The newspaper also claims they have reason to believe "the Rangers star is one of a number of leading internationals who have lost faith in the new manager just four games into his tenure."

I watched the game between Macedonia and Scotland - if only because I wanted Scotland to win to increase their chances of moving above England in the world rankings next month. Even though I'm English myself, the unjustified superiority complex shown by some rabid sections of the support disgusts me. One of the reasons I'm not too sad football is dying, perhaps...

But back to the Macedonia game. For those who didn't see it and haven't seen the result, Macedonia won 1-0, though Scotland should have been awarded two penalties in the space of about five seconds and did, at times, dominate. The main problem appeared to be the surprisingly high temperature Macedonia and Scotland's lack of end-product.

I couldn't see any reason why a player would blame Burley for the result - with the possible exception of not playing Shaun Maloney from the start (although his time on the bench at Aston Villa may have left him with some rust). What Scotland need now is to put this setback behind them and try and pick up points elsewhere.

They showed in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign they can beat the likes of France and Italy, so for the likes of McCulloch to turn his back on his country, if that is what he has done, disgusts me, is worthy of a ban from all future Scotland matches, and shows, yet again, the mess this once-great game is in.