Burley urges Scots to up the tempo to keep dream alive
GEORGE BURLEY is calling on his players to “perform to their maximum” to keep Scotland’s World Cup play-off dreams alive.
Victory over the Netherlands at Hampden Park tonight will secure second spot for the Scots, but manager Burley believes his team will have to be at their best to beat the runaway leaders of Group 9.
“Everyone will have to perform to their maximum,” Burley said. “We’ll have to battle for the 90 minutes.
“It’s up to ourselves to be strong, determined and to play to the best of our ability. We’ve got everything to play for.”
But Burley knows that even a win may not be enough to see Scotland qualify for next summer’s finals in South Africa. The Scots will still be depending on results elsewhere as they look to finish as one of the top eight runners-up to guarantee a play-off place.
And Northern Ireland are one of the teams hoping to beat Scotland to the final play-off place, with Slovakia the visitors to Windsor Park tonight.
A win for Nigel Worthington’s side would give them a strong chance of a top-two finish in Group 3, although the manager will be unable to call upon the services of Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty who has withdrawn from the squad with a knee injury.
Wales’ faint hopes of a play-off place will end tonight if they don’t beat Russia at the Millennium Stadium. Wales sit fourth in Group 4, nine points behind likely runners-up Russia with three games remaining.
Republic of Ireland beat South Africa 1-0 in a friendly last night with Stoke’s Liam Lawrence on target.