International Football: Leighton's fresh target

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The Independent Online
JIM LEIGHTON, whose career went into a decline the day Alex Ferguson dropped him for Manchester United's FA Cup replay with Crystal Palace four years ago, wins his 60th cap for Scotland against Austria in Vienna today.

The Hibernian goalkeeper's second international start in three matches confirms his return to favour at the age of 35 and he is determined to play a part in the European Championship qualifiers, which begin later this year.

'There are places up for grabs and I want to show the manager that if anything happens to Andy Goram, then he has the back-up,' he said.

Leighton, who has rediscovered his self-belief at Hibs after a wretched time since leaving Old Trafford, said: 'No one will ever know how I felt in those darkest of days. It is amazing that I have come through and come back again.'

Other 'thirtysomethings' who will be given their chance today by Craig Brown, the manager, are Bolton's John McGinlay (30) and Duncan Shearer (31), of Aberdeen.

SCOTLAND (v Austria, in Vienna today): Leighton (Hibernian); McLaren (Hearts), Hendry (Blackburn Rovers), Irvine (Aberdeen), Boyd (Celtic), McKimmie (Aberdeen), McKinlay (Dundee Utd), McAllister (Leeds Utd), Collins (Celtic), Jess (Aberdeen), McGinlay (Bolton Wanderers). Substitutes: Gunn (Norwich City), I Ferguson (Rangers), Nevin (Tranmere Rovers), Shearer (Aberdeen), McCall (Rangers).

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