George Burley knows he will now be under as much pressure in friendlies as he has been in competitive games after avoiding the axe as Scotland boss.

Burley this week managed to hold onto his job despite failing to lead the country into the play-offs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.

With the start of the European Championship qualifiers a year away, he will be expected to carry the momentum gained in this month's matches against FYR Macedonia and the Netherlands - which ultimately spared him the chop - into Scotland's forthcoming friendlies. "I'll be under scrutiny every game, whether it's a friendly game or whatever," said Burley.

"The national job is even more scrutinised because you get fewer games and the whole of the country is watching you. That's something you've got to take on the chin; you've got to be strong."

The national job is even more scrutinised because you get fewer games and the whole of the country is watching you,

Scotland manager George Burley.

Players are renowned for holding back in friendly matches, preferring not to risk missing more meaningful games through injury. But Burley wants his squad to replicate the passion and desire they showed in last week's 1-0 defeat to the Netherlands - a performance which yielded almost universal praise - into next month's game with Japan and beyond.

"That's the challenge; certainly, I'm looking forward to it," he said. "The players, we want - whether it's a friendly or a World Cup qualifying game - to be really focused on Scotland. I think that's important, to come and enjoy it, pulling on that blue shirt, playing for Scotland."

The Scottish Football Association's decision to give Burley their "full backing" has divided the nation. But the 53-year-old is confident he has the support of Scotland's most loyal fans following the display against the Dutch.

"I think they showed that at Hampden; they were absolutely magnificent," he said. "When I go out and about, I get huge support. Unfortunately, you can't please everybody. I felt, especially after the last two performances, I've got the majority of the fans (on side)."

Burley revealed he hopes to appoint a successor to assistant boss Steven Pressley before the Japan game. Falkirk coach Pressley quit yesterday morning, less than 24 hours after Burley had been told his own job was safe.

Speaking at Castlehead High School, Paisley, one of the Scottish Football Association's Schools of Football, Burley said: "I'd love to have somebody in place before the Japan game. "Whether that will happen, I don't know but that's what I'm aiming for."