Speaking on The Go Radio Football Show, Rangers icon, Barry Ferguson, has defended high-profile bluenose, Oli McBurnie, amid a continued backlash from Scotland supporters.

McBurnie has consistently received criticism since making his Scotland debut in 2018.

Serbia v Scotland - European Championship Qualifier

High-profile Rangers fan Oli McBurnie in action for Scotland. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Some fans maintain that they take issue with McBurnie solely due to poor performance levels – he is yet to score for the national team – but others believe he’s targeted because he openly supports Rangers.

The Sheffield United star played the full 90 minutes of his country’s 1-0 Nations League defeat to Slovakia in Trnava on Sunday, with his display sparking a new wave of opprobrium, but Ferguson believes it has gone too far.

“A lot of people look at Oli McBurnie coming in [as a reason for the defeat] – look, he’s going through a tough time, but we’ve got to stick with him,” he said on the Go Radio Football Show. “I thought he worked hard enough, I thought he showed an appetite, he just needs that goal.”

 

“We just need him to find the back of the net. I think when you make that number of changes it can work against you.

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“I feel for him at times, I think a lot of the criticism is a joke if I’m being honest with you. We’ve heard him speak, and you could see what happened when he scored that penalty last week [against Serbia], there’s a real passion in him and he works really hard.”

Scotland v Slovakia - UEFA Nations League

McBurnie reacts to being booked against Slovakia. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There’s no doubt McBurnie has found things tough so far at senior international level, but the amount of criticism he continues to receive is remarkable, especially after he stepped up with a crucial penalty in the Euro 2020 playoff final against Serbia.

It seems Steve Clarke is happy to ignore the noise and continue to hand the 24-year-old opportunities, though, and he’ll be hoping to make an impact at some stage against Israel in Netanya on Wednesday night.

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