Football: Hutchison dons the tartan

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The Independent Online
WALES and Scotland begin the build-up to another European Championship qualifying campaign when they meet in a B international at Wrexham tonight, although a 22-year-old Englishman will be the centre of attention, writes Phil Shaw.

Don Hutchison, who hails from Paul Gascoigne's home turf on Tyneside, will finally reap the benefit of his father's Nairn birthplace following a year-long effort to persuade him his future lay with Scotland.

Craig Brown, who is preparing a Scotland side for the first time since his appointment as Andy Roxburgh's successor was confirmed, yesterday likened the Liverpool midfielder to the current national captain, Gary McAllister, himself a graduate of the Scots' B team.

'Don is very skilful and has great vision,' Brown said. 'He is also a punters' favourite - and we want players like that when we go back to Hampden.' Hutchison, one of Kenny Dalglish's last Anfield recruits when he joined from Hartlepool, said he was 'picking up the language'.

Brown added that he would be delighted if five or six of tonight's side progressed to the senior ranks. Wales, also launching a fresh era, will look to the likes of Derby's Mark Pembridge and Leicester's Iwan Roberts to press their claims.

With Wales's new technical director, John Toshack, unable to be at the Racecourse Ground, the Welsh will be in the charge of David Williams, the new Everton assistant manager.