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Thursday, January 24, 2008
Burley unveiled as Scotland boss

The Scottish Football Association have agreed a four and a half year deal for George Burley to become the new Scotland manager this afternoon. The former Southampton boss told a news conference: 'To be asked to be manager of my country is a great honour.'

The SFA agreed a compensation deal with Southampton yesterday to secure Burley's release from the Coca-Cola Championship club, and talks over personal terms continued this morning.

The 51-year-old was one of four candidates interviewed for the position and impressed a four-man panel, which included SFA president George Peat and chief executive Gordon Smith.

Smith will be delighted to have fulfilled his promise to have a new Scotland manager installed by the end of January.

Almost two months have passed since Alex McLeish resigned as Scotland boss, at a time when the SFA were trying to persuade him to sign an extended contract.

McLeish stood down on November 27, 10 days after his team were beaten 2-1 by Italy at Hampden, a result which ended Scotland's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008.

While McLeish took charge at Birmingham, Scotland were left to pick up the pieces after losing their second manager inside a year.

Walter Smith had resigned in January 2007 to return to Rangers, and with McLeish spending just 10 months in the hot-seat the SFA were faced with a tough choice over their next boss.

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee was considered for the job, and together with Graeme Souness and Celtic first-team coach Tommy Burns he agreed to be interviewed by the SFA's four-man panel which included chief executive Smith and president George Peat.

Burley, 51, will have more than seven months to prepare for his first competitive match, the World Cup qualifier away to FYR Macedonia on September 6.

Having been presented at Hampden this afternoon, the national stadium will also be the venue for Burley's first match in charge, the March 26 friendly against Croatia.

Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, and Burley will be the fifth manager the team have had in this decade, following Craig Brown, Berti Vogts, Smith and McLeish.

Meanwhile, John Gorman and Jason Dodd have been put in caretaker charge of Southampton following George Burley's decision to leave.

Saints are beginning the search for a new manager with former Derby boss Billy Davies, ex-Leicester and Coventry chief Micky Adams and Glenn Hoddle - who managed the club for just over a year in 2000 - all being linked with the role.

Former Swindon and Wycombe boss Gorman, who was Hoddle's assistant at Southampton, is currently on the scouting staff at St Mary's while Dodd is first-team coach.

The pair have been put in charge of Saints' FA Cup fourth-round clash with another managerless club, League Two minnows Bury, and Tuesday's Coca-Cola Championship meeting with Norwich, as chairman Leon Crouch starts hunting for Burley's successor.

'This is a top job for someone and there are a lot of good candidates out there,' Crouch told the official website.

'We are disappointed to lose George Burley but we will now sit down and look at all the options and decide how to move forward. In the meantime we are fully focused on two big home games in quick succession and we are confident the management team will hold things together strongly while we consider our options.'

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