George Burley said he would have no qualms about picking Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor again after dropping them for Scotland's 2-1 win over Iceland on 1 April in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying action. The Rangers pair had to settle for places on the bench at Hampden after rowing with the Scotland manager over a late-night drinking session following the 3-0 defeat to The Netherlands at the weekend.
Burley's gamble paid off after assured performances from the players he brought in helped Scotland gain three vital points as they chase a potential play-off spot behind the Dutch, who are runaway Group 9 leaders. But Burley insists he would have no problem picking regular captain Ferguson and goalkeeper McGregor for future Scotland squads after punishing the pair.
"We have moved on. It is a clean slate for them," Burley said. "I named the squad. I picked the team and made choices, end of story. Things have happened, but I've dealt with the situation. They were in the squad and nothing will change. I haven't got any problem with Ferguson.
"We kept them altogether because the squad wanted it," he said. "We got the squad together, they produced the goods, that's all that matters. Forget about the other issues. The most important thing for Scotland was the three points and that's what we got."
Burley made several changes to the team that were humbled in Amsterdam and felt the win over Iceland vindicated his decisions. "When you are making big decisions, you are there to be shot down if it doesn't work," Burley said. "I thought it worked tonight. The balance of the team was exceptional."
The Scotland manager reserved special praise for Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon, who pulled off two superb last-minute saves to keep Scotland's FIFA World Cup qualification dreams alive. "When I had Craig at Hearts, and now at Scotland, I always believed he is going to save everything, because he's so good," explained Burley."He hadn't had ideal preparation as far as the game was concerned. But he's a top class international keeper."
Ross McCormack and Steven Fletcher's first international goals gave Scotland victory. In a lively first-half display, McCormack gave his side a well-deserved lead when he rifled in an Alan Hutton cross.
After rarely threatening in the first period Indridi Sigurdsson equalised for Iceland early in the second-half after he reacted quickest to knock in a Palmi Palmason shot which had crashed off the bar. However, Hibernian striker Fletcher restored Scotland's lead with a powerful header before Gordon pulled off two superb saves at the end.