Rangers supporting Sheffield United star Oli McBurnie silences Scotland critics with cool penalty
Photo by Nikola Krstic/SNS Group via Getty Images

Rangers supporting Sheffield United star Oli McBurnie silences Scotland critics with cool penalty

Rangers supporting Sheffield United striker, Oli McBurnie, answered his critics by scoring a pressure penalty for Scotland in their Euro 2020 playoff win over Serbia.

The 24-year-old has been persistently lambasted by sections of the Scotland support since making his debut in 2018.

Rangers supporting striker Oli McBurnie has faced criticism from Scotland fans. (Photo by Alex Morton – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Some maintain that they take issue with McBurnie solely due to poor performance levels – he is yet to score at senior international level – but others believe he’s targeted because he openly supports Rangers.

Steve Clarke has continued to show faith in the £20m striker, though, and he delivered in Belgrade on Thursday night.

McBurnie replaced Lyndon Dykes in the 82nd minute as his manager looked to freshen things up.

Luka Jovic’s 90th-minute equaliser took the game to extra time, though, and he ended up playing a lot longer than initially anticipated.

It wasn’t a sparkling performance from the forward, who struggled to hold the ball up at times, despite winning five aerial duels.

However, when the match went to penalties, he was chosen as one of his side’s five kick-takers.

With the shootout finely poised at 3-3, the bluenose stepped up knowing that a miss could cost Scotland a place at their first major tournament since 1998. Had he failed, the criticism aimed at him would have been ramped up to levels well beyond what he’s faced so far.

Yet, McBurnie shrugged off the pressure, stepping up and sending Predrag Rajkovic the wrong way, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.

His successful effort piled the pressure back onto Serbia and after Kenny McLean converted his second pressure penalty in a month, David Marshall saved superbly from Aleksander Mitrovic to send Scotland through.

McBurnie might not have won Scotland supporters over with his performance in open play, but he showed real character during the shootout to play a key role in a landmark victory for his country.