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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 3, 2008

Burley shrugs off withdrawals

Scotland boss George Burley insists another depressing raft of call-offs from his squad will have no effect on how his side will play in their World Cup qualifier against Macedonia in Skopje on Saturday.

Burley's squads were decimated ahead of his first three friendly games in charge of the national side and ahead of the double-header against Macedonia and Iceland, the former Hearts boss was forced again to call players in due to injury.

With Barry Ferguson and Alan Hutton already out with long-term problems, Burley has also lost Garry O'Connor, David Weir, David Marshall, Callum Davidson, Kevin McNaughton and Kevin Thomson.

Jamie Langfield, Kirk Broadfoot and Michael Stewart have been drafted in to replenish the Scotland squad looking to get off to a good start as they hope to qualify for their first major tournament in 10 years.

However, Burley insists disruption will be kept to a minimum, saying: 'We have a squad of 22 and we are raring to go. We have eight games to qualify so nothing changes.

'Our tactics would have been the same no matter who was in the squad. Personnel will be different but as far as our manner and style of play, that hasn't changed at all.

'You always keep your fingers crossed that all your key players will be fit. We had two injured before we named the squad but that is something that you have to take on the chin.

'That's why it is so important to have a squad of players and play friendlies. Macedonia are at home and will be looking for three points.

'We know how they are going to play, they have a structure that they haven't changed in two or three years. But we are looking for a solid start. The game lasts 90 minutes and we will be hard to beat.'

Burley has demanded a minimum of 17 points from his side during their Group 9 campaign.

That puts pressure on his players to deliver at least four points from their opening two matches, which on paper represent the least difficult of Scotland's four away fixtures.

Burley said: 'I set a target for 17 points but we can't do it all at Hampden. Players have to pick up points away from home. We have the quality in the squad.'

Meanwhile, uncapped Rangers midfielder Broadfoot has described his maiden call-up to the senior Scotland side as 'a dream come true'.

He said: 'It's been a whirlwind last 18 months. We [Rangers] had an amazing run to the final in the UEFA Cup and to become a regular for Rangers is my main aim.

'So coming here is a bonus and to get a game would be an even bigger bonus.'

Commenting on whether he has improved as a player since joining Rangers just over a year ago, Broadfoot added: 'It's up to other people to judge. I think I have developed a lot at Ibrox.'

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