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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League
By ESPN Staff

Scotland pin their goal-scoring hopes on Boyd

Walter Smith is hoping Kris Boyd can provide the long-term solution to Scotland's struggles in front of goal after the Rangers forward marked his debut with two strikes in Thursday's 5-1 demolition of Bulgaria in the Kirin Cup.

Boyd scored twice despite playing for less than 55 minutes while James McFadden struck once and another debutant, substitute Chris Burke, claimed the other two goals in an emphatic win.

The Rangers man had scored 37 goals this season before today and it took him just 43 minutes to score the first two goals of his international career.

'He's been scoring a lot of goals in domestic football in Scotland so he deserves an opportunity and looks as though he can bring his goals to international football,' said the Scotland manager.

'We are a team that has had trouble scoring in the past so hopefully he will be able to score some more for us.'

The 5-1 win was the biggest for Scotland since Smith took over as manager and the most comprehensive since defeating the Faroe Islands by the same scoreline in October 1994.

Boyd put his team on the path to victory with a fine effort after 13 minutes when he met Darren Ferguson's perfectly weighted through-ball with a finish which saw the ball flash past Bulgarian goalkeeper Stoyan Kolev.

Yordan Todorov levelled the scores 26 minutes into the game only for Boyd to restore Scotland's advantage two minutes before the break with a close-range effort.

Smith replaced the 22-year-old in the 53rd minute with McFadden and the Everton man soon made his mark on the game, hitting the crossbar with a well-struck free-kick in the 63rd minute before claiming Scotland's third with a deft touch to Gary Teale's cross from the right.

The Scots continued to push forward and Burke marked his debut with a goal the first time he came into possession, the winger chesting Gary Naysmith's cross before lifting his shot over replacement goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov.

More was to come from Burke in the dying minutes as the Rangers man made it 5-1 with a tap-in from less than two yards out.

'We are obviously very pleased with the result and the performance,' said Smith. 'We thought we would have some trouble with the travel but we managed to get a couple of excellent goals so we are obviously very happy.'

Scotland will now face World Cup qualifiers Japan in front of a sold-out Saitama Stadium on Saturday and Smith is expecting a more difficult proposition against the Asian champions.

'It's a little bit early for us to be thinking about our game plan,' he said. 'But we know that the game against Japan is always going to be a very difficult one because it's an opportunity for all the Japanese players to show they should be selected for the World Cup.

'I think we are in for a very tough game without even looking at the tactical side of the game. Japan will be determined to do well and obviously will not want to lose in front of a big crowd in Tokyo.'