RYAN CHRISTIE has backed £20million fally guy Oli McBurnie to come good for Scotland.
The cumbersome striker, who cost Sheffield United a hefty fee when he arrived from Swansea in the summer, blew two excellent opportunities as the Scots disappointingly lost 1-0 to Slovakia in Trnava yesterday, as CQN reported.
McBurnie, amazingly, hasn’t scored in FOURTEEN international appearances – excluding his penalty-kick in the 5-4 shoot-out win over Serbia in Belgrade in Thursday’s Euro Play-Off Final – and fired blanks again as Steve Clarke’s side crashed to a first-half strike from Jan Gregos.
The Leeds-born forward should have tucked two away and missed what looked a certainty in only 10 minutes when he was sent clear by Stuart Armstrong, but he dithered at the vital moment and a defender was allowed to get back and clear.
McBurnie, 24, led the attack in the absence of Lyndon Dykes, who had put in a starring role in Belgrade.
Playmaker Christie, who was the target for some rough treatment from the Slovakian sluggers, defended his international team-mate and insisted he will start hitting the target on a regular basis.
The Celtic ace, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It’s only a matter of time before Oli gets on the scoresheet. We see it every day in training.
“He was unlucky with a header and especially the chance in the first-half when the boy gets a great block on him.
“But it’s only a matter of time and I think everybody knows that.”
Christie showed McBurnie how it was done with a crisp left-foot drive that gave Scotland a 1-1 draw with Serbia that led to the epic penalty-kick success and Scotland reaching a major finals since the World Cup in France in 1998.
Now Steve Clarke’s men switch their attention to Israel and Tel Aviv on Wednesday where a win would ensure they top the group.
The skilful midfield man admitted he and his team-mates had celebrated the breakthrough and added: “The party went on until the early hours as expected and it was a quick turnaround, so it probably wasn’t the best preparation going into this game. But, listen, the other night was a history-making evening, so we had to make the most of it.
“Naturally, we were disappointed not to win in Slovakia.
“We had a vision of coming here and topping the group, but we will have to do it on Wednesday night.
“It will be tough, we have played Israel plenty of times and every single time it has been neck and neck, but we are still confident even though we are frustrated with this defeat.
“There are plenty of positives to take and it’s still a great performance going forward.”