Belfast Telegraph

Scotland take lead from defender Alan Hutton

Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston feels Alan Hutton has personified the intensity of Scotland's preparations for their Euro 2012 opener against Lithuania despite recent surgery.

The Tottenham full-back has recently recovered from hernia surgery and was a major doubt for the Kaunas clash when Craig Levein named his squad.

But, while Levein has lost other full-backs Lee Wallace and Kevin McNaughton through injury, Hutton proved his fitness and willingness in training before Scotland flew out to Lithuania yesterday afternoon.

“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,” Houston said.

“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.

The Scots beat the Czech Republic in March but lost 3-0 in Sweden last month.

“There is always an edge to a very important qualifier and I see the edge in training because the standard has been absolutely fantastic,” Houston added.

Levein yesterday called up Barnsley’s Jay McEveley and striker Garry O'Connor.

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.

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