Scotland Out To Win In Kaunas
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2010
Scotland are trying to get to another major championship and need to make a good start
Peter Houston feels Alan Hutton has shown the hunger and intensity of Scotland's preparations for the opening game of the EURO2012 campaign. He has driven himself back into contention for Friday's game against Lithuania despite recent hernia surgery. While manager Craig Levein has lost other full-backs Lee Wallace and Kevin McNaughton through injury, Hutton was determined to prove his fitness and willingness in training before Scotland flew out to Lithuania on Wednesday afternoon. Houston said: "He has never missed a training session and in fact is looking really sharp and quick for the operation he had on his hernia not so long ago. He has been buzzing and it was him who said he was desperate to be here. People in the newspapers were maybe ruling him out but he is very, very keen and in training he looks as if he has never had any operation in the last few weeks."
Houston believes the whole squad has trained with an added intensity ahead of Levein's first competitive game in charge. Levein's side beat the Czech Republic in March but lost by a disappointing 3-0 scoreline in Sweden last month. The Dundee United manager said: "There is always an edge to a very important qualifier and I see the edge in training because the standard has been absolutely fantastic. There are quality players in the side and we have got to make sure we go out there with confidence and pass the ball, retain the ball. We have to stop conceding goals and in Sweden we had a very young back four. We have more experience in there now."
Despite the disappointment of their performance in Stockholm, Houston remains confident that Scotland can launch their EURO 2012 campaign with a win. Houston said: "Lithuania are a good side and have proved in the past they are awkward opponents but we have an almost full-strength squad. We aim to win every game, it's going to be difficult and we know that, however I think you will see a different Scotland side than you saw in the Sweden friendly match. This is where it all starts and we are out to win the game. We have a good squad of players and this is one we target getting something from. It would be fantastic if we could get off to a winning start and certainly the way we are going to shape up and with the players we have in the team, we are going to try to score goals."
Levein recently called up Barnsley defender Jay McEveley and Birmingham striker Garry O'Connor to the squad as Houston explained: "We have loads of cover, all round Craig is very happy with the squad. Jay McEveley came in and trained well, Garry trained this morning as well, looking really sharp and bright and desperate to be here. That's the main thing, the squad are very, very keen and just want to get out there and do their very best. Garry is a Premiership footballer, he wouldn't be playing there if he wasn't good enough. He has had a few injuries and there was talk of him going out on loan but he certainly looked sharp and bright in training, and hungry. The manager hasn't named the team yet, he still has one or two minor decisions to make. We know what we are going to do. We certainly know how we're going to defend and work the corner kicks for and against."
Scotland squad for both games
Charlie Adam (Blackpool)
* These players may be available for Liechtenstein game depending on fitness status
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