Oliver Burke has had a trying time of it with Alaves so far this season, but on Friday night he made a little piece of history.
The winger, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Celtic from West Brom, finally scored his first goal for Alaves against Eibar. It turned out to be the winner, and it led to a crucial three points that took them up to 14th and nine points clear of the relegation zone.
And the goal that Burke scored meant that he finally became the first Scottish player to score in La Liga since 1987. Indeed, it’s the first goal scored by a Scot in Spain’s top tier since Steve Archibald netted a brace for Barcelona against Espanyol over 30 years ago.
The finish itself was also a nice one from the former Celt. He collected a deep cross before slotting into the far corner. It looked a lot easier than it likely was, and you can view it for yourselves below:
🏴 1987 – Steve Archibald
🏴 2020 – Oliver Burke
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) February 7, 2020
Burke could do with a catalyst
That goal will have been a wonderful moment for Burke. He’ll rightly be delighted with it and will surely take pride in securing a little piece of history to go along with it.
However, we can’t pretend that he’s been a success in Spain either. Since arriving in the summer on another loan deal from West Brom, Burke has contributed very little with regards to an end product. That goal was his first for the club, whilst he only previously managed to bag one assist too. That makes up his return in 22 appearances (Transfermarkt).
He also hasn’t been much of a starter for Alaves recently either. His poor return has clearly affected his game-time. Of his 21 appearances in La Liga, he’s only been in the starting XI on six occasions.
Therefore, he could do with that vital winner against Eibar being a catalyst for him to kick on. Yet how many times have we said this about Burke in the past? It feels as though he’s had umpteen chances to “kick on” without ever actually doing it.
It’s incredibly frustrating to watch him play too. Athletically, he has it all. He has power, pace, and terrific stamina. Yet, that seems to be where the positive traits end for him. Burke’s end product is awful as has been proven with Alaves, and his ball-control isn’t much better. In one game against Aberdeen in particular last season, he failed to hold the ball-up or show any form of technique as a lone-striker.
He still doesn’t look to have improved upon that in Spain. Yet, regardless, Burke can still take some solace from his historic goal ion Friday. Will it prove to be the boost he needs? Here’s hoping.