Kris Boyd and Scotland
by Andrew Southwick
WE'LL never know if its true or not, but many will beleive that had Kris Boyd not walked away, had he taken his non-inclusion against Norway on the chin, then Scotland would have qualified for the play offs.
After that Norway game, he would have been picked at some point. He would have been given his chance against Argentina, and had he done the business there then there's every chance he would have played in the other games. He perhaps would have been leading the line against Holland, and could have been the man to nick us a goal.
Its all guesswork though, we'll never know.
You get that feeling though that Kris Boyd sat there on Wednesday night, watching chance after chance fall Scotland's way with no-one managing to steer the ball home. You wonder what his reaction was; was he genuinely routing us on like everyone else in the country, or sat there quite smug in the knowledge - in his mind - that had he been on the pitch he'd have scored, and we'd have qualified.
I don't know what his reaction was, because some of us were at Hampden doing what we could to get Scotland through, be it in my case roaring them on until my lungs burned and I could barely raise more than a croak. It was everything I could do, I'm not privileged enough to be able to choose whether the manager has the right to pick me or not. However, Kris Boyd had that privilege. If he really wanted it enough he could have been on that pitch and netting the goal that kept our dream alive. He wasn't there when we needed him though. Instead he wanted to make it personal and prove a point to George Burley.
For me, had Kris Boyd put his country before his ego, then we'd be in the play offs just now. I don't doubt his goalscoring ability, and I think he'd have taken one of the chances that fell our way on Wednesday; namely Brown's first half chance and Common's late header. I also think Burley should have brought him on during the Norway game, however it would be fatuous to claim that he would have netted the chance Chris Iwelumo missed when 99 times out of 100, Iwelumo would have netted that chance too.
However, his decision to publically humiliate George Burley, walk out of the squad and decide he won't be back until Burley is gone, thats something a spoilt child does when they don't get their own way. It was the worst person to do it to, because Burley himself used to turn up for every squad only to be sat on the bench as Danny McGrain played ahead of him.
David Marshall has spent his fair share of time on the bench, he was fed to the wolves in Norway, but he was still there on Wednesday and got given his chance.
Jamie Langfield might feel aggreived to have not been in the squad in the first place, considering Neil Alexander was picked ahead of him when he's not playing first team football. When Alexander picked up the knock, Langfield answered the call, knowing full well he had no chance of getting near the starting line up. Its what you do when your country wants you - ask David Beckham, who's flown halfway round the world for cameo appearances yet may well miss the cut for Capello's England squad.
Proving a point? It was written here last week that Hartley should be included ahead of Alexander. Did hartley walk away in protest, in order to prove a point? No, he waited for his chance, and then showed the merit of his inclusion with an outstanding performance in the middle for Scotland.
With Scotland needing a goalscorer against Holland, where was Kris Boyd?
No-one doubts he's a good player, but he can't demand his place in the side. What next - let him demand who his strike partner is?
When Burley left, had Kris Boyd released a statement apologising, it would have meant nothing, because if Kris Boyd is sorry then he should have been a man and do it while Burley was still the manager, still the man who decided if he's picked or not. Waiting until he's gone and announcing he's ready to be handed the privilege of representing Scotland again is not exactly confessing for his sins.
Whether it should be accepted or not, that depends how it's delivered. A statement faxed to the SFA and the papers? No. A public apology where he stands before the cameras and admits he's been a big baby, followed by a phonecall to the man who's name he tried to drag through the gutter, then maybe yes.
Anything else is just a lazy stunt to engineer his place back in the side because Burley has gone. And it would show once again, that Boyd's only motivation is for himself, and not for the good of the country.
As it goes, he's not even bothered with a belated apology, just a word to say that we are once again privileged to have access to his services. And it looks like he'll be allowed to get away without ever showing remorse for walking out on his country.
There were 50,000 of us inside Hampden who would have sold our granny to get Scotland a goal against Holland. The one man who could have, he sat at home, without an ounce of the same desire every supporter who had that stadium rocking had. I find it difficult to beleive a man who has publically stated he wants Burley out before he came back would generally have wished Scotland all the best against the Dutch. Smug satisfaction more like, and waiting for the inevitable cry for his inclusion while watching Burley ripped apart in the press.
That doesn't sound like a man I want leading the line for my country. A johnny come lately who'll only pull on the dark blue and be patriotic when its on his terms and suits him.
If he wants to wear the Scotland shirt again, then he should buy one like the rest of us. Playing for Scotland is a privilege, a privilege he gave up for good when he turned his back on us.
Shame on Craig Levein for allowing him back in. If he does the dirty on you Craig, just like he did to Burley, then its your own fault.
Whats your view on Kris Boyd being allowed back into the Scotland squad? Feel free to leave a comment and/or take part in the poll on the left hand side.