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George Burley sacked as Scotland manager

Scottish Football Association bring Burley's time in charge to an end after three wins in 14 games.

George Burley sacked as Scotland manager

George Burley has been sacked as Scotland manager after an emergency telephone meeting of the SFA board on Monday afternoon. The governing body had been under increasing pressure to remove Burley following Saturday’s 3-0 friendly defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

Assistants Terry Butcher and Paul Hegarty will also be removed from their posts. SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said that the decision was not a direct consequence of the team's humiliation in Wales.

The writing was on the wall for the manager when it emerged on Sunday that Scottish Football Association president George Peat was to meet with  Smith to set a date to discuss Burley’s position with the full SFA board. However, the decision was made without a full board meeting at Hampden. The association instead issued a statement on Monday evening confirming that Burley had been removed from his role as manager.

The statement from Gordon Smith read: "The Scottish FA can confirm the departure of the national team coach, George Burley, with immediate effect.

“It is with regret that we announce George Burley’s departure. We now have four months until our next scheduled match, against Czech Republic, and will therefore utilise the intervening period to ensure we attract the best possible replacement to take Scotland forward.

“The decision was taken after a meeting with the board of directors and, subsequently, the national coach. The board was in unanimous agreement. It should be stressed that the decision was not a direct consequence of Saturday’s unacceptable 3-0 defeat to Wales but, rather, a realisation that the expectations of the supporters, the Scottish FA and George, himself, were not being met.

“I should point out that the Scottish FA stands by its decision to give the national coach our full support despite failure to qualify for the World Cup play-offs. It would have been negligent not to have given George every opportunity to rebuild and revitalise the squad in light of the improved performances in the last two qualifiers against Macedonia and Holland.

“Unfortunately, the adverse results in the two subsequent friendly matches against Japan and Wales provided confirmation that the improvement could not be sustained. On a personal note, I would like to thank George for his contribution and, on behalf of the Scottish FA, I wish him all the best for the future."

The SFA had given Burley a vote of confidence after Scotland had failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The manager had declared his intent to secure qualification for the European Championships in 2012 but following friendly defeats in Japan and Wales, the SFA board has decided a new approach is needed for the campaign, which begins in September 2010.

The search for a new manager will now begin in earnest and the SFA will hope to have their man in place before the qualifying draw for the Euros in February.

Burley was appointed to the role in January 2008, succeeding Alex McLeish. He took charge for 14 matches, winning three, drawing three and losing eight. Scotland slipped from 14th to 46th in the Fifa world rankings during his time in charge.

Speculation has already begun as to Burley’s successor with Craig Levein being named as the early favourite by bookmakers. Jim Jefferies, Walter Smith and Gary McAllister have also been named amongst the front-runners. Graeme Souness has already stated that he does not wish to be considered for the role.

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