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We Need To Support Oli McBurnie!

Date: 3rd September 2020

Scotland are about to begin their next Nations League campaign against Israel and the Czech Republic (yes we haven’t quite finished our last campaign but there’s been a world pandemic).

I’m extremely excited to see Scotland take to the field again, although it’s sad that we won’t have the Tartan Army there to roar the team on!

When boss Steve Clarke named his squad, it included Sheffield United forward Oli McBurnie

During his press conference Clarke made a point in praising McBurnie: 

“I don’t really read the stick that players are getting. I judge them on my own eyes and their merits. I thought Oli did well last season for Sheffield United and if he can bring that form into the international stage then he will be a big player for Scotland now and in the future.”

The ‘stick’ has come from certain Scottish supporters and members of the media. They seem judge him on his Scotland performances. Yet the Blades hitman has only made nine appearances and of them only two of those appearances were starts. Yes, he hasn’t scored a goal yet but in fairness I think we forget that there’s a different vibe to international football and many a Scottish striker has struggled initially. It can take forwards around twenty games to settle into the new environment. 

Kenny Miller only scored twice in his first seventeen games for Scotland. Leigh Griffiths has grabbed four strikes in his nineteen caps, all coming in the one year (2017). Steven Naismith only grabbed three goals in his first twenty-seven games.  

I also feel Scotland don’t always play to McBurnie’s strengths. A vast number of his goals come inside the box and we sometimes don’t create enough chances in that area. I think he’ll get better, as will the team, the more chances he gets to lead the line. 

Now unfortunately Oli won’t be Scotland’s number nine for these upcoming clashes. The striker pulled out of the squad due to a foot injury. 

Days after it was announced that McBurnie wasn’t able to represent his nation, the forward came off the bench for his club side in a preseason friendly. 

Understandably that irked The Tartan Army support. They couldn’t understand why he could play for Sheffield United but not Scotland. His passion for the jersey has certainly been questioned. 

At the time I decided to wait and see what the player and Steve Clarke had to say about the situation before reacting. In the end it was announced that Clarke and Blades boss Chris Wilder had agreed that McBurnie’s rehab would be better served by staying at his club and getting minutes here and there in preseason friendlies, which aren’t as important or as intense as a competitive international fixture. 

Now I’ll say this, the whole thing was badly mismanaged. It would have been better had the SFA, Clarke or Sheffield United had come out before the friendly game and stated the agreement was that he’d play for his club side to build up his fitness. It could have stopped a bit of the social media meltdown which followed. 

I plead with Scotland fans to give Oli McBurnie more time and chances to prove himself. I am sure he’ll prove to be a valuable member of our squad. We should definitely trust Steve Clarke, who clearly wants Oli to be part of his team. 

Credit To SFA 

I criticised the SFA on possibly mismanaging McBurnie’s call-off.

Well if I’m willing to criticise their poor handling of that situation, then I should 100% congratulate The SFA on the wonderful PR that has come there way. They have sent out superb care packages to lucky fans/competition winners and they can enjoy a taste of Hampden at home before tomorrow’s kickoff. 

It is a very classy touch and something Scottish football clubs should look at introducing. As well as showing fans that you care and understand that it’s hard not to be in the ground, it’s also a very smart way to get good publicity that involves key sponsors.

I hope the supporters enjoy their pies, bovril and Nutmeg magazine.

Here’s hoping that they can enjoy it and toast a Scotland victory with their whisky!   

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