OLIVER Burke has admitted that Scotland's players failed to execute Alex McLeish’s game plan in their error-strewn defeat to Kazakhstan on Wednesday night.

Burke made his first appearance for the national team in two years in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier in the Astana Arena in Nursultan on Thursday night.

But it turned out to be a forgettable experience for the 21-year-old – his side performed badly and ended up being thrashed 3-0 by their hosts.

The humiliating loss means that Scotland face an uphill task to finish in the top two in Group I and guarantee a place in next summer's finals.

It has also increased pressure on manager Alex McLeish even though he led the country to a play-off place in the Nations League back in November.


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However, Celtic forward Burke believes that he and his team mates have to shoulder the blame for the embarrassment after failing to carry out McLeish’s instructions.

“We have to all get behind the gaffer,” he said. “It’s about the players out there as well as the manager.

“We didn’t do what we were told to do, obviously. I think we had our moments, but we didn’t have enough of them.

“We should have created more chances. We have shown we could have created chances, but then we sort of just stopped.

“I think they put up a good fight, but we know we can do better. It’s really disappointing. It was one of those days unfortunately. It’s one to reflect on and learn from as a player, definitely.”


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Burke added: “We created some good opportunities during the first half, but I think we just let everything get on top of us, maybe the crowd and everything.

“We sort of gave up on making those forward passes and creating opportunities. I don’t know wat happened. We have to look back and see where we went wrong.

“We can’t really use it (the pitch) as an excuse because they are no different to us, they have got to play on it as well as us. It shouldn’t be a factor. We should be more than ready for it.

“The analysis team will look at it and see where we can do better, and what there is to improve on. We will continue to focus on the next game, and we will do our very best to win that one.

“Of course, it’s totally understandable why the fans are angry. They know we can do better, but we didn’t do that. It’s very disappointing.

“You just can’t lack concentration. We have to all be on the ball, and all 100% focused every minute of the game. That minute, that one run when you’re not concentrating, can kill you.”

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Former Nottingham Forrest, RB Leipzig and West Brom player Burke, who has been sold for Scottish record transfer fees of £13m and £15m during his career, admitted his joy at reclaiming his place was short-lived.

“I’m obviously very happy to be back in the setup, and very proud to be a part of the Scotland national team,” he said.

“It’s not really about that now, it’s about the team. It was a difficult night back at the hotel, but we just have to think about the next game now.”

The Scotland squad arrived in Rimini in Italy last night ahead of their second Euro 2020 qualifier against San Marino in Serravalle on Sunday.

The result of the meeting with the enclaved microstate, which has a smaller population than Falkirk, is likely to be meaningless as games against the team that finishes bottom in six game sections are disregarded.

Burke, though, believes it is important that he and his team mates attempt to atone for their woeful showing in Central Asia with an improved display.

“We have to focus on the next game now and do our very best,” he said. “We need to focus on picking ourselves up. We know we can do much better than that.

“I think we all have to recover, prepare as much as we can and be ready. We want to prove everybody wrong, that we can do it.”