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Tuesday, November 16, 1999 Published at 17:53 GMT


Hutchison cleared for Wembley showdown

Hutchison's form has been one of the key factors behind Everton's revival

Scotland have been given a timely boost by news that influential midfielder Don Hutchison has recovered in time for their Euro 2000 play-off against England.

The Everton star, highlighted by England coach Kevin Keegan as Scotland's dangerman, had to sit out of training on Monday because of a calf strain.

His chances of making the Wembley leg were rated doubtful but he came through a late test on Tuesday night.

"Don came through training well and Craig (Brown) was pleased with his contribution," said SFA spokesman Andy Mitchell.

"He should be available now and everyone else came through without any problem."

Hutchison's recovery is a big boost for Brown, who is without the suspended Kevin Gallacher.

Hutchison is an attacking midfielder who has the finishing skills of a striker and can score important goals.

Gary McSwegan, who missed the first leg at Hampden Park after limping off during a club encounter for the Tynecastle men against Motherwell, and young Celtic star Mark Birchill are also fit.

Brown is optimistic about Scotland's chances.

"McSwegan is very much in contention but don't forget Billy Dodds' contribution in the first game and we also have Burchill who has plenty of pace and who could cause England's defence problems.

"I've said it before, I strongly feel that the only difference between the two teams were the goals that England scored.

"England will be under pressure to come at us at Wembley as their fans will expect that and hopefully we can exploit any gaps that appear at the back.

"After what has happened in the game at Hampden and also when we played England at Euro 96 we feel sure we are due a couple of breaks."



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