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Forever the underdog

Started on 17 June 2021 by Imagine
Latest Reply on 1 July 2021 by TheLFCFan
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Steve Clarke steps down

It is with sadness that we bring the news to you that Steve Clarke has stepped down from his position as Head Coach of the Scottish Men's senior side. As you will know Steve has battled with Coronavirus in recent months and his health has taken a dip as a result. In our discussions with him it is clear how disappointed he is to have to step down but he has to look after his health which is entirely understandable and we wish him the very best in his recovery. We would also like to extend our thanks to him for his and his teams work with the squad that has led to us being so close to making an appearance at Euro 2020, a first major competition in 23 years no less! Once again, thank you and we hope you get well soon. See below for a the statement released by Steve Clarke today.

Scottish FA Chief Executive, Ian Maxwell

Steve Clarke:
It is with deep regret that I must step down from my position as head coach of the Scotland national team. I am hugely proud to have achieved what we have done so far during my spell in charge and I'm immensely proud of our chances of making Euro 2020 and a return to a major tournament for the first time in 23 years. When we play Serbia in October I want us to go and give it everything that we have to make this nation proud. Since contracting Coronavirus my health has taken a turn for the worse and daily tasks continue to be a real struggle due to the persistent breathlessness I am experiencing. I feel that it is my duty to step down from my position as I don't feel fit enough to lead the team at the moment and with such a major tournament around the corner I feel it would be unfair to take some temporary leave away from the team when full commitment is required by all parties. I want to thank everyone for their recent well wishes and all of the support shown throughout. I trust that a successor can be found swiftly and I'd like to wish whoever gets the job all the best. Thank you.
Imagine's avatar Group Imagine
2 yearsEdited




Burns takes over from Clarke

We would like to announce Christopher Burns as the new Scotland Men's senior manager taking over from the recently departed Steve Clarke. Burns steps up from his role as under 21's assistant manager to Scot Gemmill. Whilst it is understandably a big leap from the outset this is a move which won't surprise all that many in and around Hampden such as the rise through the ranks Burns made with his coaching badges and then his work with the youth sides in recent times. As a recent former international, making 21 appearances and scoring 9 goals, he is also well versed in our tough luck tales of recent years and is determined to do what he couldn't do during his playing career and that is to help guide is to a major international competition. During interview Burns came across as an ambitious, hard working, forward thinking, fearless manager that will go places in management and we are delighted to offer him that opportunity. I believe that the fans should give him a chance as he is the type of manager that will have a go at teams and not be afraid, something which the Tartan Army will lap up.

Scottish FA Chief Executive, Ian Maxwell


Christopher Burns press conference

Q: Stewart Campbell - Christopher, how does it feel to sit here as the new Scotland manager?
A: Christopher Burns - Oh it is completely surreal I can't quite believe I'm here to be honest, I mean, I believe in my ability to do this job but just surprised to be given this great opportunity right now.

Q: Kamal Chapman - Do you think this could break your career before it even kicks off should you fail to qualify for the Euros at this point? People are saying you have taken this job at an impossible time and you've been lined up as a scapegate.
A: CB - Absolutely not, I will have a long and successful career. Who makes up this trife? We have a great opportunity to qualify and we will do our utmost to ensure we do. I haven't been given this job on the grounds that I must ensure we qualify. I have been given the job to take this team to the next level.

Q: David Campbell - Do you think you are the man to take them to that level?
A: CB - Of course I do or I'd never have taken the job in the first place. I've played for my country 21 times with 9 goals to my name as well as playing for Rangers and Everton who I class as next level clubs. I come with title winning experience, with a never say die attitude and a sheer passion to win.

Q: Michael Thiele - It's been mooted that you are an attack minded coach, given the serial underdog tag Scotland have and the subsequent defensive football that has been almost a trademark of the national side, do you see this as a conflict?
A: CB - On the contrary. We are forever the underdog but I think it's high time we changed that and showed the world we're not scared to play the beautiful game the way it was intended. I will be bringing a new era of football to Scotland. We will be fluid with flair, drive, passion and goals. The players of yesteryear that were first picks regardless of form and chosen on loyalty listen now, you must earn your place, if not, you won't be chosen no matter how many caps you have.

Q: Paul Murray - Some very bold statements for an untested manager it has to be said Christopher, don't you worry about falling flat on your face if these words don't turn to action?A: CB - There we go again with the pessimism again, the pessimism that engulfs our nation. No, we can be great if we just try to be.

Q: Justin Lynch - Have you spoken to Steve Clarke at all?
A: CB - I have spoken to Steve we've worked together for a short while now so we do have a relationship, I've wished him all the health going forward and he has wished me well in the job. There is no bad feeling at all, we all want what's best for the team.

Q: Frank Munn - Will you be sticking with Andrew Robertson as captain?
A: CB - I haven't made a definitive decision on that at the moment but as it stands it is most probable as Andy is playing at an elite level and is a great leader.

Q: Paul Murray - Who will you be looking to bring in to assist you with the team or will you be looking to keep the previous regime intact?
A: CB - There will be some changes, Steven Reid, John Carver and Keith Wright will move on. There replacements and further reinforcements will be announced soon. That will be all, thank you.
An interesting start to the story, I'm sure the Scottish fans are hopeful that you can at least better the English results! Admittedly, I don't know too much about the Scottish leagues or their players, so this will be super interesting to me for that very reason.

Good luck!
A big journey on its way, good luck!
2021-06-17 13:14#283913 J_ames : An interesting start to the story, I'm sure the Scottish fans are hopeful that you can at least better the English results! Admittedly, I don't know too much about the Scottish leagues or their players, so this will be super interesting to me for that very reason.

Good luck!

Thank you, I certainly hope so!

2021-06-17 17:03#283915 Justice : A big journey on its way, good luck!

Indeed it is, thank you!

Squad to face Czech Republic and Israel confirmed

Scotland manager Christopher Burns has named his squad to face Czech Republic and Israel in their Nations League double header. The new manager has fielded many calls to players eligible but previously undeclared for the nation and amongst those are Josh McEachran and Todd Kane who despite saying yes neither player was picked this time around unlike Ryan Fredericks and Jed Steer who were also asked to declare for the nation and were subsequently called up upon accepting. Joe Bryan, Angus Gunn, brothers Karamoko & Siriki Dembele were others to have taken that call but passed on the opportunity for the moment at least. Burns boldly asked Allan McGregor to return from retirement too but was given a firm no by the Rangers man. The team picked is as follows;

Goalkeepers

David Marshall(Derby)
Robby McCrorie(Rangers)
Jed Steer(Aston Villa)

Defenders

Ryan Fredericks(West Ham)
Nathan Paterson(Rangers)
(C)Andrew Robertson(Liverpool)
(VC)Kieran Tierney(Arsenal)
Scott McKenna(Nottingham Forest)
Jack Hendry(Oostende)
Liam Cooper(Leeds)
Declan Gallagher(Aberdeen)
Ross McCrorie(Aberdeen)

Midfielders

Ryan Fraser(Newcastle)
James Forrest(Celtic)
Ryan Christie(Celtic)
Billy Gilmour(Chelsea)
John McGinn(Aston Villa)
David Turnbull(Celtic)
Callum McGregor(Celtic)
Scott McTominay(Man Utd)

Forwards

Che Adams(Southampton)
Leigh Griffiths(Celtic)
Oli McBurnie(Sheff Utd)
Christie > Messi
The SFA certainly could've used you against the Czechs irl ;) Interesting that you're looking to take advantage of the players eligible for Scotland that aren't declared for them, I'm intrigued with who else you may be able to convince to represent the Tartan Army in the future. Che Adams hasn't had the greatest start to his career it would appear, but there's enough about him to justify his continued selection. Is Lyndon Dykes still in the mix, or is he firmly on the outer now?
2021-06-23 14:44#283967 Justice : Christie > Messi

Apparently so!

2021-06-24 04:42#283976 J_ames : The SFA certainly could've used you against the Czechs irl ;) Interesting that you're looking to take advantage of the players eligible for Scotland that aren't declared for them, I'm intrigued with who else you may be able to convince to represent the Tartan Army in the future. Che Adams hasn't had the greatest start to his career it would appear, but there's enough about him to justify his continued selection. Is Lyndon Dykes still in the mix, or is he firmly on the outer now?

Haha, usual negative Scottish mentality which no manager wants to venture away from. Aye, GK and ST are areas we aren't great in currently. We have an abundance of defenders and midfielders but no great goalkeepers or strikers nor right backs either. I'm willing to give Adams some more time although there's not really anyone pushing him either with club form for our strikers pretty abysmal. Dykes isn't in the mix currently although Adams misfiring may change that but again, his club form isn't great either.


Squad for playoffs and Nations League double header confirmed

There were a couple of changes to the Scotland squad confirmed by Christopher Burns for the three upcoming matches against Serbia, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Ryan Fredericks, Billy Gilmour and Leigh Griffiths miss out with Stephen O'Donnell, Stuart Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes called up instead. Fredericks is suspended for one match however, it is thought that the manager wasn't overly impressed by his first games for the side having failed to play a match for West Ham so far this season hasn't helped his chances of another call up. Similar scenario for both Griffiths and Gilmour who haven't featured for their respective clubs either this season. Before facing off in their next Nations League matches Scotland have a crucial Euro 2020 playoff tie against Serbia and will need their top players like Robertson, McGinn and Christie on form if they are to progress.

Goalkeepers

David Marshall(Derby)
Robby McCrorie(Rangers)
Jed Steer(Aston Villa)

Defenders

Stephen O'Donnell(Motherwell)
Nathan Paterson(Rangers)
(C)Andrew Robertson(Liverpool)
(VC)Kieran Tierney(Arsenal)
Scott McKenna(Nottingham Forest)
Jack Hendry(Oostende)
Liam Cooper(Leeds)
Declan Gallagher(Aberdeen)
Ross McCrorie(Aberdeen)

Midfielders

Ryan Fraser(Newcastle)
James Forrest(Celtic)
Ryan Christie(Celtic)
Stuart Armstrong(Southampton)
John McGinn(Aston Villa)
David Turnbull(Celtic)
Callum McGregor(Celtic)
Scott McTominay(Man Utd)

Forwards

Che Adams(Southampton)
Lyndon Dykes(QPR)
Oli McBurnie(Sheff Utd)


Latest fixtures




Our first game in this latest round of international fixtures came against Serbia as the nation stood tall and sent them homeward to think again. This EURO 2020 playoff tie couldn't have gone any better for us with Stephen O'Donnell and Stuart Armstrong slotting into the team seamlessly. Ryan Christie continued his fine form of late as he set up Ross McCrorie's first international goal to give us the lead. With the side ahead at half time two subs were made by the manager as James Forrest and Declan Gallagher were introduced for Christie and Liam Cooper who were looking tired. It was the next raft of substitutions that sparked the next big highlight of the match though as Che Adams and John McGinn made way for Lyndon Dykes and David Turnbull. Minutes later the ball was in the net as Forrest teed up a debut goal for Dykes who put us 2-0 up. Andrija Zivkovic scored to give us a late scare but the Serbians couldn't get another to our relief. We are through to the Final of the Playoffs and will face Israel on the 11th of November.


Next up was a Nations League match against Slovakia and there were a few changes to the team for this one. Nathan Patterson, Jack Hendry and Scott McKenna came in to the defence, McCrorie was moved into the midfield as Callum McGregor was rested, McGinn and Armstrong made way for Ryan Fraser and Turnbull. Lyndon Dykes was handed his debut from the start as he replaced Adams who had yet to score under the new manager. It was Dykes who got the first goal as he continued where he left off in the last match as he netted courtesy of young Nathan Patterson's through ball. Turnbull got the next goal for us as some fine wing play by Fraser ended with the ball drilled across the penalty box which Turnbull blasted by Martin Dubravka in the Slovakian goal. Turnbull turned provider next as he fed the ball through on goal to Dykes who notched his second of the match. There was some disappointment for Dykes though as he was one of five subs made by Christopher Burns during the second half which left him unable to get a chance of a hat-trick. A comfortable win in this one took a few by surprise and had us sitting top of the group.


With three games inside a week there were a couple of changes to the line up as Celtic duo Forrest and McGregor returned to the side. From the off the team weren't at the races though and Patrick Schick got his side off the mark just shy of the half hour mark. He followed that up with another goal ten minutes later, with both goals coming inside the penalty box too, surprising. A poor pass back by McGregor fifteen minutes into the second half allowed Schick to tee up Jakub Jankto for the Czech's third and the games final goal. We had one shot this entire match and it was clear this was a real off day for us. From 1st to 3rd in the group we now have it all to do in our next couple of games in November against Israel and Slovakia, straight after our playoff final, against the Israelis too. The nation have moved up to 47th in the world rankings after the latest round of matches.

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