Scotland coach Steven Reid today insisted Oli McBurnie’s commitment to the national side is not in doubt after a recent social media storm.
Sheffield United striker McBurnie was criticised by some of the Tartan Army after footage emerged on social media that appeared to question his commitment to Scotland.
McBurnie was filmed talking to John Fleck in the Sheffield United tunnel before their EFL Cup tie against Blackburn.
The £20 million striker was slated by fans online after footage appeared to catch him saying he hoped he wouldn’t be called up for his country.
However, it is understood McBurnie already knew he had been called up to Steve Clarke’s squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Russia and Belgium.
Reid, who is part of national manager Steve Clarke’s backroom staff, revealed McBurnie asked to speak to the Scotland squad and management team to clear up the matter.
However, he refused to divulge exactly what was said.
Reid said: “He wanted to speak to the group just to clear up and clarify the situation.
“I know he spoke to the manager as well.”
Asked if management accepted McBurnie’s explanation, Reid said: “Yes, of course. It wasn’t even a case of accepting or not accepting.
“He wanted to speak to the whole group to clarify the whole situation which has been ongoing for a few days – and that’s it.
“We draw a line under it, move on and look forward to the two games coming up.”
However, Reid would not go so far as revealing the details of McBurnie’s explanation when the squad met up at their base on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
He said: “That will stay in the group, what was said.
“He just felt it was important to speak to everybody, clear it up, move on, train well and then focus on the next two games.”
Asked if he apologised, Reid said: “I’m not going to discuss what was said. That’s going to stay in the group.”
McBurnie was filmed in conversation with ex-Rangers man Fleck on his club’s TV channel seemingly discussing the international set-up.
Fleck is McBurnie’s room-mate when they are away on international duty.
Reid insists McBurnie’s commitment to Scotland is not in question.
He said: “He is here and the manager has openly said that he only wants committed players to be involved.
“If that wasn’t the case, then I don’t think Oli – or any other squad member – would be here.
“It’s a fully committed squad, a fully committed Oli.
“If there’s anyone who isn’t committed then one thing is for sure – they won’t be getting in too many squads.
“The manager has made that clear from the start in meetings and conversations we’ve had.
“You have to be fully committed or don’t bother turning up.
“During my club career, you get one or two incidents that get into the press and you draw a line under it and move on.”
Reid is confident that if McBurnie gets the nod to face the Russians at Hampden on Friday there will be no backlash from the Tartan Army.
He said: “I expect the fans to be behind Oli. These things happen in football all the time.
“We’re all here now and it’s all been cleared up and clarified.
“We’ve trained well and we’ve got to look forward to the two games ahead.
“Oli’s got a bit of character about him and he’s confident in his own ability. I’m really looking forward to working with him.
“And it’s a big opportunity for him now, for obvious reasons with the position up for grabs.
“So hopefully he can bring his good start with Sheffield United into the international fold.”
English Premier League new boys Sheffield United smashed their club transfer record to sign McBurnie from Swansea City this season for £20m.
The 23-year-old, who scored 24 goals in the Championship last season, signed a four-year deal with the top-flight side.
Reid said: “Oli has been fine. He trained well, sharp, enthusiastic – and looks really happy to be part of the squad.
“It was a great move for him – and deserved. He did really well at Swansea.
“It’s a big opportunity for him now. Obviously everyone wants to play in the Premier League.
“He’s gone into a good, hungry squad and it looks, already, like they’re going to compete really well in the league.”