New Scotland boss sets World Cup target
New Scotland manager George Burley admits he is facing up to the biggest challenge of his career as he targets a place at the 2010 World Cup.
Installed on Thursday as the Scottish Football Association's surprise choice as national team coach, Burley now has the expectations of an entire country resting on his shoulders.
Predecessor Alex McLeish took Scotland to within touching distance of Euro 2008 and Burley knows he has to go one better.
'It would mean everything to me to take Scotland to the World Cup,' he said.
'That is my focus and I'm going to give it everything. I had 16 years in England so I am fairly experienced.
'My longest spell was at Ipswich where I was very proud of the players I brought through and our achievements in playing in Europe and finishing fifth (in the Premier League).
'As far as those qualities, working with players, working with teams, I feel I am ready for it.
'I don't think it's daunting but the expectations are huge. The nation expects. What Alex and Walter Smith did was phenomenal but I am looking forward to it.'
Burley can be forgiven for unashamedly reciting the attributes which led to him being selected as the SFA's preferred candidate.
After all, at no stage was he installed as favourite by bookmakers while the other candidates - Graeme Souness, Mark McGhee and Tommy Burns - were all tipped to land the job at one stage.
'It depends on the qualifications you are looking for,' said Burley.
'If you are looking for a Scottish manager who has done very well in every club he has been at in 16 years, who is passionate about Scotland, who is hungry, who is very focused, I think I come into that category.
'England took Fabio Capello because maybe they felt they didn't have an English manager who was right for the job.
'I have always been an advocate that Scotland have been fortunate in having so many top-class managers over the years.
'You could reel off 12 or 16 at the moment who would be capable of doing the Scotland job.'
Burley will oversee a squad gathering next month before facing Croatia in his first match in a friendly at Hampden Park in March.
A clash with England at Wembley has been mooted for the end of May and the new Scotland manager is far from against the idea.
'It would be great for the fans,' he said.
'It's something which would have to be carefully thought about.'