Kris Boyd: I quit Scotland to save my Rangers career

Kris Boyd retired from international football in 2008. Picture: SNSKris Boyd retired from international football in 2008. Picture: SNS
Kris Boyd retired from international football in 2008. Picture: SNS

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Kris Boyd has revealed the reason he retired prematurely from international football wasn't because of a quarrel with head coach George Burley, but a bid to save his failing Rangers career.

The striker made the decision to quit the international set-up in October 2008, shortly after Scotland had drawn 0-0 with Norway at Hampden.

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That was the game where Chris Iwelumo, at the expense of Boyd, was brought off the bench, only for the ex-Wolves striker to miss a glaring chance to open the scoring.

It was assumed Boyd had quit in frustration at Burley’s decision, along with the manager’s insistence that Boyd had to “establish himself in the Rangers first team”.

However, Boyd insists he was already set on retiring prior to that infamous day at Hampden.

Appearing on the Si Ferry Meets... show, presented by Open Goal, the current Kilmarnock striker said: “When it comes to Scotland I’ve always been one of those who thinks you shouldn’t be getting picked if you’re not playing in the first place.

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“I was at a crossroads in my career. I was in and out of the Rangers team.

“For me it was time to knuckle down, get myself back in the Rangers team, and things began to change to for me. I began to understand that I wanted to be a football player, first and foremost, for Rangers. Scotland was a bonus.

“I think to save my club career I had to do it.

“A lot of people have blamed George for putting on Chris Iwelumo and him missing that chance, but I had my mind made up anyway.

“My club form was suffering. I was in and out the team. For the ten days that I was there [with Scotland] I wasn’t training to the intensity I would have been at club level. I felt as if I was struggling when I first came back and I was dropping down the pecking order. Something had to give.”

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Boyd would stay a further two seasons at Ibrox, winning the league title in 2009 and 2010 before leaving Rangers that summer to sign for Middlesbrough.

He made a brief comeback for Scotland in 2010, playing twice for Burley’s replacement as national team boss, Craig Levein.

• Watch the latest episode with Kris Boyd here.