McGregor sweating over Scotland axe

31 March 2009 03:00
Scotland coach George Burley looks set to make a U-turn and recall Craig Gordon for Wednesday's crunch World Cup qualifier against Iceland. Allan McGregor was given the nod over the Sunderland goalkeeper for Saturday night's trip to Holland due to Gordon's lack of recent first-team action for the Black Cats. There were some question marks over Rangers number one McGregor for Holland's second goal in the 3-0 defeat, which left the Scots needing to beat Iceland if they are to have a realistic chance of qualifying through the play-offs as one of the second-placed countries. Burley hinted at making several changes to his side, one of which is enforced after the withdrawal of defender Graham Alexander with a hamstring injury, opening the door to Alan Hutton making his first start at first-team level in five months. However, former Hearts and Ipswich boss Burley rebuffed several opportunities to confirm McGregor would be between the sticks again and appeared to brush off the fact Gordon was obviously still lacking in match practise. "There's a lot of big decisions to be made," Burley said. "I will speak to my staff but it's one where I need to back my own judgment."I won't worry about other factors, simply what I feel will be the best team to win on Wednesday. I've watched him (Gordon) in training."It's something I've got to look at and you have to say that Alan Hutton hasn't played either."This is a game where other factors won't come in to it."I'm going to look to get the best shape and the best opportunity to win the game with the personnel who I think will do it for me, and that's the end of the subject."Asked about McGregor's performance against Holland, Burley replied: "He hardly had much to do but he did fine."We worked had to contain them but, unfortunately, we didn't get a result."But I have to make decisions about every position. "Burley, with one win in eight games since taking charge of Scotland, was more forthright when discussing the importance of victory.He said: "We need the three points so we need to treat it like a cup final."If we are going to finish in the top two then we need to win. "Tomorrow's game is going to be completely different to the Dutch game; we've got to put them under pressure all the time."We know the way we are going to play, we are going to be positive, it's not going to be a cautious approach. "Iceland are a good side, they beat Macedonia and got a good 2-2 draw in Norway so we will have to be at our best. "But I feel if we get it right then we can win."With only two goals in four qualifying games - both in the away win over Iceland earlier in the campaign - Burley accepts there has to be an improvement on the goal front.The former Scotland right-back insists Kenny Miller, who missed a good chance in the Amsterdam ArenA on Saturday when the game was goalless, can be the man to get the Scots back on track. "We haven't scored enough goals so far but that doesn't mean we can't improve on that, starting on Wednesday," Burley said."There's no easy answers; it's a collective thing and you've got to keep working hard and keep creating opportunities."Kenny feels good; there was no reaction after Saturday so his confidence is fine."Naturally, he's disappointed he didn't take his opportunity, but as long as he keeps working hard and getting in to those positions then there is no problem. "Celtic skipper Stephen McManus trained again at Dumbarton this morning after recovering from an ankle injury and is likely to replace Christophe Berra if there is no reaction.Burley said: "If Stephen feels 100% fit then we

Source: Eurosport


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