Burley set to axe McGregor

Craig Gordon is set to replace Allan McGregor for tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Iceland at Hampden after Scotland boss George Burley claimed the Ibrox number one was naive in losing the second goal in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat in Holland.

Most people backed Burley’s decision at the weekend to play McGregor in front of regular number one Gordon, who has only played one game for Sunderland since the end of November.

Although no one could blame the Rangers keeper for the comprehensive defeat in the Amsterdam ArenA, he did allow himself to be blocked for Robin van Persie’s goal from a corner right on half-time which, at 2-0, sealed Scotland’s fate.

Burley knows that with four points from four games, victory over Iceland is required if they are to have any chance of reaching second place and the play-offs.

The former Hearts and Ipswich boss is ready to ring the changes, bringing in right-back Alan Hutton for the injured Graham Alexander and replacing stopper Christophe Berra with fit-again Stephen McManus.

However, the omission of McGregor would be considered a bold move by the Scotland boss, who is, according to speculation, also set to axe skipper Barry Ferguson.

“You have to assess every game – every game is different,” Burley said. “This is a game where we’ve got to win, and I’ll try and choose the best team that I feel is right for this particular game.

“We lost two bad goals over in Amsterdam, and if you do that in international football then it is difficult to come back.

“You can look at a lot of goals and say they were avoidable but these were easy goals for Holland.

“We were a bit naive and shouldn’t have allowed ourselves to get blocked in,” Burley continued. “Teams block – we do it ourselves – but the second goal, especially, from the corner, was poor. ”The first goal was just bad marking.

“You don’t allow yourself to be blocked.

“If someone stands against you, you can move to the side or you can move in front of him. You can also move them out the way so we were a bit naive there.

“You’ve got to give Holland credit, but they were still bad goals to give away.”

Burley added: “Tonight is going to be a different game. ”We have certainly got to impose ourselves.

“We’ve got to get on the ball and move them about – just like Holland moved us about – and try to create chances, try to force them into errors and take advantage of them.”

Gary Caldwell believes the battle to be Scotland number one is shaping up to be similar to the situation in which England found themselves in the 1970s and early 1980s when Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton vied for the spot.

The Celtic defender said: “I think it could be like that, they are both excellent goalkeepers.

“We are lucky to have them and whoever plays we know that we are going to have a top keeper behind us.

“They are two goalkeepers who could get into a lot of international teams in the world.

“There is always going to be questions if one plays and the other does not.

“People have different opinions on who should play but it is the manager’s job to pick one of them and pick the right one.”

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