Hutton: Scotland have improved

Scotland defender Alan Hutton insists tonight's World Cup qualifier will see Belgium face a tougher test than last year.

Last Updated: 06/09/13 at 09:11 Post Comment

Alan Hutton faces the press.

Alan Hutton faces the press.

Scotland defender Alan Hutton insists tonight's World Cup qualifier will see Belgium face a completely different prospect to the side they defeated last year.

The Scots slumped to a 2-0 loss in Brussels the last time the two nations met in October 2012 in what proved to be Craig Levein's last game in charge.

New boss Gordon Strachan now appears to have rejuvenated a group of players who picked up their first qualifying win in Croatia in June, before impressing against England at Wembley last month.

Reflecting on the last meeting with the Belgians, Hutton said: "Personally, I think it's night and day.

"We didn't seem to be too confident at that stage of the campaign. Now, building on the last two performances, everybody is confident, excited and looking forward to the game.

"With the fans behind us, we just want to go and put on a great performance."

Scotland's qualification hopes are over but the right-back added: "We expect to go out and have a right good performance and a right good go at them.

"We have been working hard and playing well so I don't see why we shouldn't go out and expect to play well and play our game."

Hutton admits the one setback Scotland could have done without is the loss of Allan McGregor.

The goalkeeper would have been suspended for the Belgium game, but available for next week's visit to Macedonia, but pulled out of the squad through injury.

Hutton said: "It's a massive blow. For me, he is one of the best goalkeepers.

"He has had stand-out performances for us for many, many seasons.

"It's a massive blow but it's a great opportunity for the other keepers, whoever plays, to come in and show what they've got."

Strachan would just be happy to see his side continue the improvement evident against Croatia and England.

He said: "There are bits that we like, bits we are trying to improve on, especially when we have the ball.

"We can only do a certain amount. We don't have all the world's best international players, we have a group of players who are trying to get better, as a group here and as individuals elsewhere.

"If you look at the Belgian side, if they pick their best 11, they are the third most expensive international side in the world on transfer fees - and that was only rating (Aston Villa striker Christian) Benteke at £8million. I think he's a lot more than that now."


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