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Wales thrash Scotland to give George Burley new headache
Wales 3-0 Scotland
Aaron Ramsey and Simon Church celebrate a Wales goal against Scotland Aaron Ramsey and Simon Church celebrate a goal in the victory over Scotland at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA
Scotland slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Wales in Cardiff, putting more pressure on their manager George Burley as the travelling fans turned on him.
The Tartan Army spent the second half directing verbal abuse at him and the Scottish Football Association after a woeful first half had seen the visitors concede all three goals.
Arsenal teenager and man of the match Aaron Ramsey was the architect of much of the damage and played a part in goals for Wales team-mates David Edwards and Simon Church, as well as grabbing a superb goal of his own.
Wales threatened in the opening few minutes when a dangerous ball from the right from Ramsey was swiped to safety by a fully-stretched David Marshall. But Scotland seemed untroubled by the early scare and carved out several decent chances of their own. A Danny Fox free-kick found James McFadden 10 yards out, but his effort was gathered by Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. The Birmingham forward then had another effort, this time collecting from Kenny Miller's flick, only to fire straight at Hennessey.
Miller then rifled just wide of an upright himself as the visitors pressed for the opener. At the other end, Joe Ledley tried his luck from distance, but failed to trouble Cardiff club-mate Marshall in the Scotland goal.
The breakthrough came after 17 minutes when Ramsey whipped a ball across the face of goal, where Edwards was waiting to fire in, leaving Marshall with no chance.
The home nation doubled their lead with 32 minutes gone. Ramsey's pass found Ledley on the left and he delivered into the goalmouth as Church raced in to stab home from close range.
The Scots were then left reeling when Wales claimed their third of the day just three minutes later, with a superb solo effort from Ramsey. The Arsenal youngster took the ball past Stephen McManus and Darren Fletcher before lashing it into the back of the net. Burley's men were clearly rattled and could have been further behind when Ched Evans's point-blank shot was blocked by the feet of Marshall.
Furious Scotland fans made their feelings towards Burley known at half-time, while Wales used the break to make two changes, with Evans and Church replaced by Robert Earnshaw and Sam Vokes.
The match could have got a lot worse for the Scots when Marshall handled outside the area just a couple of minutes after the restart, but referee Cyril Zimmermann let him escape with a caution, before Gareth Bale's resulting free-kick was deflected wide.
Burley then made changes of his own, with Lee Wallace and Steven Fletcher thrown into the action in place of Fox and Miller. The Scots probably breathed a sigh of relief when the impressive Ramsey made way for Joe Allen.
Kevin Kyle then came off the bench to earn his first cap in five years, but by then the occasion was already soured for Scotland, with verbal abuse from the Tartan Army continuing to be directed at Burley throughout the second half.
Burley admitted he could not blame the supporters for their anger.
"I'm not surprised, with the manner of defeat," he told Sky Sports. "The first 20 minutes we started brightly enough, but we folded like a pack of cards. The goals we gave away were shocking and we never recovered."
Burley knows his is under pressure after Scotland's third successive defeat without scoring. He said: "After a performance like that, of course. We will assess it and take it from there. I didn't think we had any positives. You couldn't really say we came out with any credit with regards to the performance or the way we conceded the goals. We felt at the end of the World Cup campaign we were heading in the right direction but we certainly never showed that today."
Taken from the Guardian/Observer