Alan Hutton is Rangers' first-choice right-back, but with just one cap to his name to date, the Scotland defender yesterday showed inexperience at this level – in the press room, at least – by suggesting one of the imminent Euro 2008 qualifiers is more of a personal revenge mission than a chance to realise a nation's ambitions.
The mantra in the camp ahead of Saturday's Group B match at Hampden with Lithuania and next Wednesday's date in Paris with France is steadfastly "look only one game ahead". Yet Hutton said he cannot wait to show his former manager, Paul Le Guen, how talented he is.
Le Guen was the ultimately hapless figure of the debacle that was Rangers' 2006-07 season. He lasted five months, had a series of fall-outs with his players, notably Barry Ferguson, and appeared to cast aspersions on the abilities of other Scottish members of his squad by chopping and changing his side, replacing them with imports who faltered. Hutton, 22, actually seemed to be well regarded. He played in 19 of the 24 SPL games that Le Guen oversaw. So quite why he should see victory over France as a personal riposte to Le Guen is a poser. Le Guen, now at Paris St Germain, is nothing to do with France's national set-up. Yet evidently something still irks Hutton.
"It'd be brilliant to go to France and play well," he said. "That would really get one over on him [Le Guen].It would show him that the likes of myself, Chris [Burke] and Barry [Ferguson] are talented players."
Whether Hutton gets to play at all remains to be seen as Scotland look to advance from the toughest of groups. France currently top the group on 18 points, Italy are second on 16 and Scotland have 15. That trio have all played seven games, while Ukraine, in fourth on 12 points, have played six.
The Scotland squad, already without one injured striker, Derby's Kenny Miller, was depleted further when Sunderland's Russell Anderson withdrew with a calf injury. They are also without left-back Gary Naysmith, who is injured, and Ferguson, suspended.