Riordan out to prove his value against Austria

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The Independent Football

With the former Scotland captain Graeme Souness branding this fixture, along with the other international friendlies, a "Mickey Mouse game", the occasion ought to have quite a Hollywood feel. In reality, it is likely to be a modestly attended, low-key affair, especially with Walter Smith, the Scotland manager, omitting players from Manchester United, Everton, Dundee United and Rangers because of club commitments in Europe.

However, for Riordan and his front-running partner from Hibs, Gary O'Connor, the meeting with Hans Krankl's Austria offers an opportunity to prove their worth for Scotland's make-or-break matches on the road to Germany next summer. On 3 September they face the group leaders, Italy, at Hampden Park, with a visit to Norway, one of the four countries above them in the section, to follow the next Wednesday.

O'Connor made four appearances for the Scots during Berti Vogts' ill-starred reign as manager, but Riordan has yet to play at senior level. Smith explained that both 22-year-olds would play, if not necessarily together. "They've been doing well for their club, and they will get part of the game to see how they handle the situation," he said.

The Portsmouth midfielder Richard Hughes, who was also capped four times by Vogts, was another Smith had in mind. "We've got one or two who have been in the squad for a number of games but have not managed to play yet," the former Rangers and Everton manager added. "I'll be interested to see how they cope with a tough friendly here."

Christian Dailly, who reappeared against Moldova and Belarus after missing almost all of last season because of injury, will lead the side in the absence of Rangers' Barry Ferguson. The West Ham United captain, 32, would have to be on crutches to miss a Scotland game and pledged to carry on representing his country as long as possible.

"When somebody retires me, I'll take it on the chin," he said, evoking the macho spirit of Schwarzenegger, "but I've still got plenty to offer."

Dailly wants to become Scotland's answer to Teddy Sheringham by playing until he is almost 40. He is the most-capped member of the squad, but is determined to follow the path of Upton Park team-mate Sheringham, who is still playing at the age of 39.

The pair helped West Ham make a winning return to the Premiership on Saturday when Blackburn Rovers were beaten 3-1.