Hutton thrust into the limelight by call of club and country

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The Independent Football

Alan Hutton admits breaking back into Rangers' first team, making his Old Firm debut and getting his first start for Scotland Under-21s all in the space of a few weeks has turned his world upside down.

The 19-year-old defender made his Rangers debut more than a year ago but was returned to the Ibrox Under-21s until Alex McLeish recently drafted him back into the Govan side's first team when the manager began rebuilding his team for next season.

Hutton then made his Old Firm debut last Sunday in Celtic's 2-1 win at Ibrox and was still in the dressing-room after the game when he was told by McLeish that he had been called up by Rainer Bonhof.

He made his first start for the Scotland Under-21s in the 2-0 defeat against Romania at Firhill on Tuesday night and, after previously being an unknown quantity, the big defender is trying to come to terms with being thrust into the limelight. "I'm just taking it in my stride, it's all you can do, you need to keep on going. The last couple of weeks have been great for me, so hopefully I can just take it on and do well for my club and country.

"The gaffer told me right after the Old Firm game that Rainer wanted me, so it was quite short notice but I was happy and I suppose it was a high for me after the disappointment of the result. I did enjoy the Celtic game in a way, it was my debut and I thought I played well. The result wasn't the best but for myself it was a good day."

Hutton was part of a new-look Scotland side which Bonhof is trying to mould together ahead of the forthcoming qualifying campaign for the 2006 European Championship.

But like most of the Scotland players, the Rangers defender found life difficult against a classy Romanian side who defended resolutely and broke with impressive pace and purpose. Hutton claims Bonhof's boys need more time together to develop understanding.

He said: "The result wasn't the best but it's hard at this level especially when we don't all play together week in and week out. We've only been together three nights in the hotel so you're trying to get to know the players as much as you can.

"The best way to get to know them is to talk to them, so the more meetings we have the better we should get. But it's also about playing, you need to get more games to improve as a team. It was another test for us against the Romanians. It's always good to play against players from abroad and they are a good team - but so are we."

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