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4:01:15 PM
Burns doubt in race for Scots job
Burns doubt in race for Scots job
Tommy Burns has worked with the Scotland squad before
Burns has worked as an assistant to two Scotland managers
Tommy Burns's apparent reluctance to face an interview could cost him the chance of the Scotland manager's job.

The Celtic coach has so far refused to confirm whether he will engage in discussions with the Scottish FA.

The SFA insists no-one has withdrawn from the process, but BBC Sport understands that they will favour candidates they have met face-to-face.

Mark McGhee has been spoken to, while Graeme Souness and George Burley are also on the SFA shortlist.

Former Derby and Preston boss Billy Davies was on an original five-man list of targets but he has since ruled himself out.

Newspaper reports suggested ex-Rangers, Liverpool and Newcastle manager Souness had also withdrawn.

But SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said: "Scotland's national team coach is a high-profile and hugely important position.

"I absolutely understand why there should be so much speculation as to who may eventually be appointed and, while I would never go into detail about the process that we are following, I am happy to clarify where we are at this stage.

"We identified a shortlist of candidates and we have had initial discussions with them over the past few days.

"At this stage no-one has ruled themselves out of the running for the job and we continue to work towards making an appointment by the end of the month."

Earlier in the week, Motherwell boss McGhee told BBC Sport: "I am open minded about it. I have not made my mind up that I am leaving Motherwell. I am here to be persuaded."

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He has received widespread praise for Motherwell's performances this season and his leadership following the death of club captain Phil O'Donnell on 29 December.

"I have a moral responsibility to be here at least until the end of the season because of what has happened in recent weeks," said McGhee.

BBC Sport understands that Celtic will also not stand in the way of Burns should their coach wish to speak to the SFA.

The former Kilmarnock, Celtic and Reading manager, 51, was overlooked for the post 12 months ago when Walter Smith quit Scotland to return to Rangers, leading him to resign as assistant manager.

Burns had also been assistant to the previous national boss, Berti Vogts.

Burley, whose Southampton side are sitting outside the play-off places in England's Championship, was a success during a short spell with previous club Hearts.

The former Colchester, Ipswich and Derby boss led the Edinburgh outfit to the top of the Scottish Premier League before leaving after a dispute with owner Vladimir Romanov.

Burley said: "It is a great honour to be considered by your country and it is only right that I listen to what they have to say.

"There is no obligation on either side and I must stress I am very happy at Southampton.

"I am not looking to move on. But, after receiving this approach, I felt it would be right to speak to the SFA."
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