I Know The Face.....

lithuanian badgeFriday's opposition for the national side, Lithuania will have some familiar faces on display as they kick off the EURO2012 qualifying process. Hearts fans in particular will recognise players who have worn the maroon in past or present as the players take to the field in Kaunas. National coach Raimondas Zutautas is sure that the local knowledge of how Scotland plays gained from those in his side with SPL experience will provide a crucial advantage.  Marius Zaliukas, Saulius Mikoliunas and Deividas Cesnauskis are expected to start the game, with Zutautas believing their motivation lies in striving to prove themselves against a country they are familiar with. Zutautas also named Andrius Velicka, Ricardas Beniusis, Kestutis Ivaskevicius and Linas Pilibaitis, all former Hearts players, in his squad. Add Vytautuas Luksa, a Tynecastle trialist from summer 2009, plus Andrius Skerla, the former Dunfermline defender, and the contingent with an insight into the Scottish game totals almost half of Lithuania's squad.

Zutautas said: "
We have Saulius Mikoliunas, Deividas Cesnauskis and Marius Zaliukas. All of them will be in the team and I think they will be more motivated against Scotland because they have played in that country and they know the football. They will want to show everybody in Scotland because they know the game will be on television. This is good motivation for these guys to show they know how to play football. We will see how many players who used to play in Scotland will play. Pilibaitis and Beniusis I'm not sure, maybe for the second half."

Zutautas is one of the world's youngest international coaches. The game against Scotland marks his first competitive game in charge of Lithuania if you discount June's Baltic Cup competition. Inwardly he feels pressure, but on the outside his players require calm assurance. He said: "
This can be one of the most important matches for this country because the first match is at home and our supporters are waiting for the first victory. There have been a lot of great matches between Lithuania and Scotland. I think Lithuania will remember the last match here, 2-1 in Kaunas. It will be an interesting game. There will be three teams fighting for the second position in the group: Czech Republic, Scotland and Lithuania. Czech Republic and Scotland have more opportunities because they are stronger but we will show something too. We will have a plan because we know the Scottish team very well. We must attack because this is our home game. Scotland are the away team so they will play more defensive. Of course we are not going to play an open game. I think your coach, Mr Levein, will play from defence and use the counter-attack because they are the away team. This is a big game for Lithuania and I think we have players to score goals. I think this team can win."

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