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Sep, 11, 2009

Coyle: Scotland job speculation in "poor taste"

Burnley manager Owen Coyle has firmly distanced himself from suggestions that he could be the man to replace George Burley as Scotland boss.

A 1-0 defeat to Holland at Hampden Park on Wednesday ended Scotland's faint hopes of reaching the World Cup finals in South Africa and speculation is mounting that the Scottish Football Association will replace Burley ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Coyle, who enjoys an ever-growing reputation in the game following his success in getting Burnley promoted and then beating Manchester United in only his second Premier League tie, has been mentioned as a possible successor along with Gordon Strachan, Walter Smith and Craig Levein.

But the Clarets boss is adamant he has no ambitions of replacing Burley, should the former Ipswich and Hearts manager be ushered out by the SFA.

"It's something I never, ever envisaged," Coyle told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph. "And the other thing is, Scotland have a manager. He's shown in those two games that they were a whisker away from that play-off, and who's to say they wouldn't have made the World Cup finals if they were in the play-offs?

"I think the nature of football is that there is always speculation, people have opinions - that's why we love football. But I was at the game on Saturday and in the second half I thought we were outstanding against Macedonia, and fully merited the victory. There could have been a few more goals to add.

"For me, George has worked ever so hard in the last two games and the players have shown they are prepared to do the utmost for him. Someone is always going to have something to say on it, but the day after is not really the time for that. I'm pretty sure George wants to carry on the fight, I know he's very proud to lead his country.

"There's nothing else to be said. People were linking me with jobs last year, and I think it's always in poor taste when people mention other people's names when there's someone already in jobs."

Meanwhile, former Scotland manager Alex McLeish, who was replaced by Burley 20 months ago, believes he should remain in the job.

McLeish, now in charge of Birmingham, said: "I think George should stay in charge. It has been a tough assignment for him and he has had a lot of criticism. But we've got to give him a bit of respect.

"I know it will be levelled at him what Scotland did earlier in the group as opposed to the last two games. But there were signs there of a good understanding and good spirit amongst the group of players for these past two games.

"It is about getting momentum in any management role. That is the key. It is a failed campaign and people might say we have got to dispense with the manager. But I would still have stayed on - why shouldn't George stay on?

"The names of people like Gordon Strachan and Graeme Souness will come up but I think it will be a wise decision to keep George on.''

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