Kris Boyd has a point to prove and tonight against Norway, he will be hoping to get a chance to do so. The Kilmarnock striker has been rewarded, thanks to some fine club form, with a return to the international fray he so sensationally left five years ago. A lot has changed since then for both Boyd and Scotland but the love affair hasn’t. It was under the ill fated George Burley era in 2008 that Boyd fell out of favour with the former Ipswich and Hearts gaffer who preferred to try different strikers than trust in the then Rangers frontman. Boyd’s last straw came ironically in a dull 0-0 draw against Norway at Hampden, when needing the win and three points, Burley chose to hand a debut to Chris Iwelumo ahead of Boyd leaving the striker to mull over his future on the bench. In the match better remembered for that miss by Iwelumo, it also marked a turning point in Boyd’s international career.
After the match Boyd called the SFA to tell them that he no longer wished to be considered for selection under Burley something that angred the coach and the fans. Boyd felt at the time that he was the victim but his approach was ill advised and badly timed which instead painted him as the villian. Burley did offer an olive branch later thst year insisting that if the player was totally committed to the cause then he would be allowed to return. Burleys offer, whilst sounding sincere was almost a desperate plea to Boyd as he fended off speculation that he was going to be sacked. Eventually Burley was dismissed and replaced by Craig Levein who instantly threw the door back open to Boyd. However, the former Rangers hitman by then was struggling for form and bouncing between clubs. Boyd looked increasingly less like the powerful striker that lit up the SPL in the early part of his career. Failed moves to England, Turkey and then the US eventually made Boyd take stock and he decided that a return to Scotland may help rescue both his club and intetnational futures.
Now five years on from that fateful public bustup, Boyd is back in the news but this time for the right reasons as he blazes a goalscoring trail in the Scottish Premiership, back home at his first club Kilmarnock. He has a freedom about his play that many haven’t seen since his move to Ibrox in 2006, scoring for fun with both feet and occassionally his head.Gordon Strachan couldn’t ignore him much longer and gave the 30 year old a much deserved recall. In the friendly against Norway tonight, the pressure is off with nothing for the two teams to play for other than bragging rights so throwing Boyd back in makes sense. Along with a couple of other fringe players, Boyd will get the chance to show what he can do and make his case for a permanent squad place ahead of Euro 2016 qualifying next year. All has been fogotten by Strachan who has wiped the slate clean and allowed Boyd back into the fold. The same might not be true for the Tartan Army who still hold a slight grudge for Boyds actions five years ago when he abandoned his country in a somewhat petulant move. Boyd knows that he will have to win them over and the only way to do that is through 100% effort and most importantly goals, something he is quite good at doing.
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