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Sep 3, 2009

SFA chief blames Iwelumo for Scots predicament

Scottish Football Association president George Peat has laid the blame for the country's World Cup qualifying situation firmly at the feet of striker Chris Iwelumo following his infamous miss against Norway in October 2008.

Scotland are currently preparing for their upcoming qualifiers against Macedonia and Holland at Hampden Park and, given they currently sit in third place in Group 9, need to win both games to have any chance of reaching the finals in South Africa next summer.

A 4-0 defeat to Norway last month has left them in a precarious position and with some pointing the finger at manager George Burley, but Peat feels Iwelumo's horrendous miss in the first fixture against the Scandinavian side deprived Scotland of the chance to make a good start to qualifying.

"Everybody is going berserk about the performance in Norway and everybody knows the performance in Norway wasn't good,'' Peat said. "But what they tend to forget is that had a certain individual not missed an open goal at Hampden in the first match against Norway, we would have been three points ahead regardless and the same pressure wouldn't have been on us.

"Everybody is dwelling on the last match and we all know we didn't play well. But had we scored a goal in the home match and ended up with a victory, we would have been three points ahead of Norway today.''

Pressure is seemingly building around Burley but Peat is unwilling to speculate whether a failure to reach the World Cup finals will result in a change of manager for the international side.

"I don't want to make any comment at all about that,'' he said. "When George Burley took over we agreed that, after the World Cup situation was finished, we would sit down and have a discussion and we will do that. What we wanted was to qualify for the World Cup. That was the first target.

"George might not be happy when we sit down so we review it from both sides to see whether he is happy with the set-up and whether we are happy with the set-up and that's what we will do.''

Meanwhile, Scotland have called up Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield for their upcoming qualifiers following an injury sustained by Neil Alexander. The Rangers keeper misses Saturday's game against Macedonia due to a knock in training and is a doubt for Holland's trip to Hampden on Wednesday.

Langfield was delighted with his call-up, telling Aberdeen's official website: "I am very happy I am in the squad. It is great to be able to get the chance to show what I can do.

"Even though it was a late call-up, I jumped at the chance to be involved. I got told at lunchtime today and drove down to Glasgow this afternoon.

"I wish the call had come this morning to save me from training in the torrential rain in Aberdeen!

"I was naturally disappointed not to be involved when the original squad was named but it's a big plus to be call up by George Burley.

"The most important thing is for me to work hard and try stay in the manager's plans and stay in the squad."

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