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O Flower of Scotland

Started on 6 November 2019 by Imagine
Latest Reply on 31 March 2020 by Justice
Two vitally important results and a very impressive start to life as Scotland manager for Burns.
2019-11-16 21:55#262724 Griffo : Look at Cyprus go... wow, sorry mate I am hoping they pip you in the end haha

Cypriot? Or anti-Scottish haha!

2019-11-16 22:05#262726 ScottT : Two vitally important results and a very impressive start to life as Scotland manager for Burns.

Indeed mate, couldn't have asked for more.

Scotland squad announced

As Scotland look to press on with their Euro 2020 campaign and build on their back to back wins against Cyprus and Russia Christopher Burns has announced the squad for the double header against Belgium and San Marino. There has been a couple of changes to the squad from the last time out as Kieran Tierney returns in place of Joe Bryan, David Bates comes in for Mikey Devlin, Callum McGreggor and Ryan Fraser come in for Robert Snodgrass and Johnny Russell. Another surprise inclusion is that of Ryan Fredericks of West Ham comes in for Stephen O'Donnell after being convinced to pledge his internation future to Scotland by Burns. That means that out of the six players Burns has tried to convince to join the Scotland set up two have made the switch so far. He remains hopeful that Angus Gunn, Harvey Barnes, Karlan Grant and Che Adams could still be persuaded. Gunn in particular would be a tremendous asset. With the team moving up to 39th in the world rankings there is some good progress being made towards that end.

It was Belgium that were up next for Scotland and it was clear that it was going to be a struggle for them to get anything out of the match. Those thoughts were confirmed when Adnan Januzaj opened the scoring after ten minutes. Andrew Robertson provided Matt Ritchie with the opportunity to equalise after twenty minutes and he did just that. Despite going into the break level Belgium came out after it a completely different side. Axel Witsel gave his side the lead and then doubled his own tally minutes later from the spot. Youri Tielemans got in on the act shortly after with a stupendous first time volley from 30 yards that sailed by Craig MacGillivray. In an effort to stem the flow of goals from the Belgians David Bates was brought on to make his debut and replaced John Souttar. At the other end the unimpressive Ryan Christie and Lawrence Shankland made way for James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths. Debutant Ryan Fredericks assisted substitute Forrest who netted a consolation goal that was even more redundant when Kevin De Bruyne secured his teams 5-2 victory with a goal two minutes later. Not a great result but the Tartan Army fans seen their side put up a bit of a fight which hasn't always been clear to see.

With the expectations of a romp over San Marino Christopher Burns decided to make wholesale changes to the starting line up as only Ryan Christie, Matt Ritchie, Ryan Fraser and Lawrence Shankland retained their places in the squad. With Zander Clark making his debut in place of Craig MacGillivray. As predicted that romp over San Marino came as Scotland ran out 8-0 victors. It took twenty something minutes for Scotland to open the scoring and it was that man Ritchie once again who did so. Liam Cooper and Ryan Christie were next on the score sheet as they got their first international goals. Christie and Fraser were replaced by James Forrest and Callum McGreggor around the sixty minute mark. Ritchie netted his second goal of the game with twenty minutes to go, this time from the spot. Just minutes later McGreggor made an immediate impact and scored his first international goal. He doubled his tally ten minutes later but only after Kieran Tierney and Lawrence Shankland got theirs first. Five of the eight goals in the game were first international goals for the scorers, a platform for them all to build on now. An outstanding attacking performance which saw over fifty shots fired at the San Marino goal. As ever, Matt Ritchie was the standout performer and man of the match. Ritchie is the third top goalscorer of the European Qualifiers with seven goals. The squad leave the camp in buoyant spirits and will be looking forward to their next matches against Russia and Kazakhstan.

Scotland squad announced

After a mixed bag of results last time out against Belgium and San Marino Scotland slipped down a place to fortieth in the world. Meaning that despite some decent results under Christopher Burns the team still have a long way to go as they hope to qualify for the Euros and get into the top twenty in the world. Russia are within touching distant of Scotland as they are just a point behind and with both sides set to meet in the next game it is all to play for. Burns names an almost unchanged squad apart from the surprise inclusion of Robby McRorie who was a forced change due to an injury to Jon McLaughlin. McRorie has been touted as a goalkeeping star of the future and despite playing in the Scottish Championship he only needs to look to Lawrence Shankland for inspiration as he has cemented his place in the squad in recent times despite playing in the Championship too. Robert Snodgrass has decided to retire from the international set up despite pleas by Burns for him to keep his options open it seems that Snodgrass didn't see himself as a back up.

Fair to say that the Russia game is going to be massive. Hopefully the results fall Scotlands way!
Imagine's avatar Group Imagine
1 yearEdited

With everything to play for in the penultimate game against Russia Christopher Burns opted to play with his strongest side, although Shankland being the starting striker remains a touchy subject in the media and among fans. Scotland got off to the best possible start to the match as they opened the scoring after two minutes. Matt Ritchie whipped in a free kick but the ball was headed straight back out to him and he only went and volleyed it straight past Andrey Luney who didn't even get a chance to move it happened that quick and from that far out. Alexey Miranchuk equalised for the Russians just before half time which seemed to infuriate Burns on the sidelines. That was to be the last goal of the match as neither team could muster up a winner despite both seemingly going for it full throttle. That means Scotland need a draw or a win in the next game and for Russia to draw or lose against Belgium to secure 2nd spot. The incredible Matt Ritchie has scored in all of Burns' games to date and he'll be hoping to continue that streak and add to his eight goals in the current campaign.

Scotland went into this game knowing that they needed to win to have their fate in their own hands and that's what made Burns' decision to name an almost completely changed side so shocking. McRorie was handed a debut whilst only Matt Ritchie retained his place as he has been simply unplayable during this campaign. Leigh Griffiths was also given the chance to reclaim his place in the starting line up as Lawrence Shankland's solitary goal in five games hasn't impressed the manager. Fired up from Amy McDonald's rendition of 'Flower of Scotland' they started the match positively however, the first piece of action from Scotland came through head physio Tim Williamson who had to sprint on to the pitch to tend to the injured Tom Cairney who had to be replaced by Ryan Fraser after three minutes. Ryan Christie gave his side the lead a third of the way through the first half after some fine work out wide by Ritchie set him up. Griffiths managed to double the scoreline fifteen minutes later as his predotary instincts burst to life after a penalty box scramble as a result of Tierney's cross. Griffiths wasn't done though and before half time he scored a penalty to silence his critics after he missed two in Burns first game in charge. He sealed his hat-trick before the break and certainly looked in the mood to end his international and club troubles of late. He wasn't able to further add to his tally and was replaced by Shankland after the hour mark. Like Cairney, John Fleck was also forced off through injury and was replaced by John McGinn. Unlike Griffiths, Christie was able to add to his tally and his second half double secured an emphatic 6-0 victory for the Scots. There was drama to be had though when Christie defied his managers orders to take the 78th minute penalty that was awarded to his side. Burns wanted Ritchie to take the penalty despite Christie being on a hat-trick but Christie wasn't having any of it. Despite scoring from the spot there was a lot of tension between the duo at the final whistle and the man of the match in this game could still find himself in trouble with his international manager.

TheLFCFan: It certainly was and although we didn't get the result we wanted in that game we did end up getting the results we needed to qualify.

Scotland qualify for EURO 2020

In a truly remarkable turn of events Scotland have secured their place at EURO 2020 and their first finals qualification in over twenty years. Having changed their manager not even midway through their qualification group there was a bit of turmoil surrounding the Scotland camp which was fast becoming the norm. When it was announced that Christopher Burns would be the incoming manager there was outrage among some sections of the media and fans as they didn't believe such an inexperienced coach should lead the nation. Not even four months later and he can now be considered a hero by the Tartan Army faithful and media alike. He came in and made his mark immediately by bringing in his own staff and letting some loyal staff go despite how hard that must have been. He has then revamped the playing squad and phased out some of the older and regular lads that have continuously been picked for years regardless of their performances. Then you look at the tactical approach he has gone with and it is certainly more positive, attacking and pleasing on the eye. They have played with a boldness that they haven't shown in many years and it has paid off. Jurgen Klopp's Gegen press has been a clear inspiration as Burns has looked to model the side on the style made famous by the Liverpool manager. There has been plenty of debut's handed out by the young manager too as he showed that he isn't scared to pitch in a rookie. There have also been a couple of players who have committed to the nation purely because of the up and coming managers fresh approach. The Tartan Army celebrated long into the night as they danced, sang and, of course, drank right into the wee hours of the morning. A momentous occasion for the fans and a moment that will live long in the memory.

Burns reflects on whirlwind four months

Scotland manager Christopher Burns recently reflected on what he called a 'whirlwind' four months in charge of the national team. Having taken over from Alex McLeish who had won two and lost two of the games in Group I Scotland's hopes of progressing were up in the air. The defeat to Cyprus was particularly painful and a poor showing against Kazakhstan proved to be the final straw. When he was given a call regarding the job Burns claimed that he believed it was a wind up by a friend. Even he didn't realise he would be considered for the job so early in his managerial career. He did go on to explain that he had conversed with the Scottish FA about his coaching plans for the future and had previously spoken to them about the types of things he would do if he was given his managerial break. He certainly didn't think that was going to come from the National team though.

"When I received the phone call about the job I wasn't buying it at all, I thought it was one of my friends or an old team mate or something, he said. When it finally clicked that it was a genuine phone call I started panicking thinking I might already have blown it! Thankfully I managed to compose myself enough to agree to an interview with the FA. The interview itself, although intense, was relatively straight forward as I was asked what my tactical approach would be if I was given the job, what players I would include, what I felt was needed for us to qualify for a major competition and if I believed that I could be bold in my decisions as they wanted a fresh and positive approach after so many years of hard luck tales. I assume I told them exactly what they wanted to as I was given the job of course. I immediately set about forming my own back room staff in whom I hoped to trust for many years. It was a hard decision to let the likes of Billy Stark and James McFadden go, particularly James as we have been team mates and I believe he publicly praised me too so that was a hard conversation to have. I have very vivid memories of watching him score THAT goal against France and have always loved watching him play. However, as I stated the the board I wasn't afraid to make bold decisions or try a new approach. I believe that some coaches and managers in the game only get a job through being friends with the right people and that wasn't the approach that I wanted to take. I brought in the staff that I believed could help us achieve some really great things as a nation. I then had some tough choices to make on the playing side as there were quite a few players I don't believe were worthy of an inclusion every squad. Some were too old and stifling the progress of the youngsters and some just weren't playing to a high enough standard. Craig Gordon, Allan McGregor and David Marshall have all been outstanding goalkeepers for us for many years but they aren't the future. They are very much the past and that's why I decided it was time to drop all three of them, it wasn't personal at all. Others like Christophe Berra, Grant Hanley, Charlie Mulgrew, Barry Bannan, Oliver Burke, Oli McBurnie, Steven Fletcher, Chris Martin and Steven Naismith have all been getting games for years despite not actually achieving much in the game in that time. Matt Ritchie and Leigh Griffiths were the most experienced players I decided to persevere with and in the former's case it proved inspired. I have had some tremendous highs that I've never experienced in my life in these past couple of months and I am just buzzing to get these lads to the finals and see what we can do. We have moved up to 37th in the world and although that isn't a fantastic place to be it is some fantastic progress. We have arranged friendlies with three teams in the top twenty in the world, Croatia, Switzerland and Denmark, so hopefully with some wins from those games we can continue to grow and get the confidence flowing in preparation for EURO 2020."


Ross County make SOS call to Scotland manager

Scottish Premiership strugglers Ross County have placed an SOS call to Scotland manager Christopher Burns. The Staggies are hoping to persuade Burns to take over their side and rescue them from inevitable relegation after a doomed campaign thus far. With the side in 12th place with only two wins in nineteen games it is a big ask for anyone to save them. It is a very ambitious move by Ross County and it isn't yet known whether Burns is likely to accept the position. If he does it's believed that he may take the job on a temporary basis until the end of the season and juggle the Scotland job until then. There has been no comment from the SFA as of yet so it's all rumours right now. With such an important and historical competition coming up for Scotland it is crazy that the manager would even contemplate such an offer at this moment in time. Only time will tell though and hopefully we find out his decision very soon.

Burns takes Ross County job

As has been rumoured over the past week, Christopher Burns has decided to take over at Ross County until the end of the season. He has, of course, decided to keep the Scotland job and will juggle both rules until the summer when he will likely step down from Ross County regardless of the outcome of his tenure. Burns had this to say on the move; "I was very happy to hear from Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor and I admire his ambition to bring me here. Of course they are struggling at the moment but but I believe I could go in and help them. This is my first club management job so there will be some differences to managing Scotland but I'm sure I can adapt to them. I am especially happy that Roy brought in the staff that I asked him to. I am thrilled at the prospect of working with Avram Grant as my director of football, Nick Laycock as my assistant manager, Stephen Craigan as a coach and Andy Davies as our fitness coach as well as several scouts in order for me to find some talent to join the club. I believe that together we can save Ross County from relegation," he concluded.

Ross County January round up

I have had an intense first month in charge of Ross County as we've been playing games whilst trying to create a backroom staff, a training schedule, a working tactic as well as buying and selling players. In terms of the backroom staff I moved quickly to get who I wanted as I was asked during the interview process. It has been a learning experience working with Avram Grant in particular. He is a huge name in football and I was just as pleased to bring in Nick Laycock and Stephen Craigan as they both know the domestic game fairly well, Craigan more than the rest. Chris Samba and Willie Donnachie were also nice additions to the team. In order to bring anyone in we had to clear some deadwood out first of all and so began the clear out. Some old heads left, not an easy decision to let some of them go like Iain Vigurs and Don Cowie, two really good servants to the club. We let eighteen players leave permanently and a further six go out on loan. I inherited the signing of Mustapha Dumbuya from Phoenix but I was happy with his arrival as he slotted straight into the starting line up at left back. I turned my attention to the hole at the centre of defence next and brought in Cesar Ortiz to fill the gap. Gael Bigirimana and Ikechi Anya also joined on free transfers. We splashed a bit of cash on Kundai Benyu who should be a good player at this level before going on to fulfill his potential at a higher standard. We raided our new parent club LASK Linz from Austria to sign Thomas Sabitzer on loan and that concluded our additions for January. Our results were fairly poor after my initial game in charge where we beat St. Mirren 3-2, we paid the price in the next two matches for my tactical naivety as we were drawing with both Ayr and Livingston and deserved the win in both games, particularly against Livingston, when I decided to go all out for a win but it back fired spectacularly in both matches. The loss against Rangers was inevitable but we put up a great fight and actually took the lead. They went on to coast the game in the second half but it was a spirited performance nonetheless. The Hibernian match was fairly disappointing as we dominated but just couldn't take our chances. Just as the transfer window was about to slam shut I got an interesting phone call......

It's all going off in this story! Congratulations for everything, I guess? :P
Everything is happening here haha! Very interesting times

Ross County February-March round up

After receiving a call from Rangers about the vacant managerial position after Steven Gerrard left for Watford I have to admit I was truly conflicted. However, I took on this Ross County post on a temporary basis purely because I want to lead my nation into EURO 2020 and beyond. Taking on this job temporarily allows me to do that as I will leave once my work here is done. If I was to take the Rangers job though, I wouldn't want to leave as they are a dream job for me due to my childhood upbringing as a club season ticket holder. I would love to topple Celtic with Rangers but it just isn't the right time in my career and that is what I must prioritise and so I rejected the role. I took the boys on a team outing after news broke that I had turned down the role. I took them out to tell them that I believe in them and that I have every faith in their ability to turn the fortunes of this club around. I am sticking to my word and taking them through to the end of the season. February was a decent month for us as we started and ended it with a win! There was a draw and three defeats in between which wasn't so pleasant however. It was that four game win less run that led me to arrange a friendly fixture against Inverness Athletic in the hope of getting the confidence flowing once again. Now it may just have been a coincidence but after that match we won our next four games 3-0, 4-0 1-0 and 4-0 and managed to climb up the league as a result. Veteran Carlos Cuellar came into the team for the 4-0 win over Livingston and he helped us to a forth clean sheet on the bounce. We are in some inspired form now, we just have to keep this form up now and perhaps Premiership safety is ours.

Thanks ScottT and Griffo! I've been playing all day and just kinda rolling with whatever happens and seeing what the outcome will be. I don't have an end game with this save so will just see how it pans out.

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