Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Burley focused on ‘new start’

George Burley has placed Scotland's failed World Cup campaign firmly in the past and believes today's friendly with Wales in Cardiff signals the start of a new chapter.

Asked if the friendly in the Welsh capital was the start of a new campaign, Burley declared: “It's already started! You move on from the last one. I was asked the question: Do you think you are starting from scratch? I don't think we are.

“We have built a good team spirit and our performance level got better as the World Cup campaign went on; against Macedonia and Holland, I thought we had two exceptional performances.

“We just missed on getting to the play-offs. But we have spoken about it and we just have to keep improving. It's all about progression. Wales is a big game for us.

“We are looking to keep progressing, we are looking to win matches and get a squad that's strong enough to qualify for a major championships, which Scotland hasn't done for a number of years now.

Meanwhile, Wales boss John Toshack will send his youngsters into “another new beginning” against Scotland.

With the unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign now behind them, Wales have a year of friendlies to prepare themselves for the next competition.

And the qualifiers for Euro 2012, starting next September, will be Toshack's last campaign as manager.

He has already made it plain he will leave the post at the end of his latest two-year contract extension, so this is the beginning of his last crack at taking a Wales squad to a major finals.

Toshack says: “We seem to be having ‘new starts' all the time. There has been so many changes, injuries and retirements, and it has meant there can be no continuity.

“But the average age of the side will be 22 this time, and I have told the lads that they have had two or three years together now to come to terms with international football.

“We need a little more good fortune now and a squad to be consistent and stay together.”

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