Hughes out to produce Scotland stars

01 October 2009 08:24
No fewer than seven of the 22-man squad named in Scotland's squad for the friendly in Japan on Saturday week were part of the Hibs side which finished third in the Scottish Premier League in 2005.

Only one of them is currently at the club, Derek Riordan, who was recalled more than four years after his sole cap.

Hughes, who became Hibs boss this summer, is determined to increase that number during his tenure at Easter Road.

He said: "I want all my players to go away on international duty and it's my job to keep producing these young players, keep producing them and getting them in that first team.

"But they have to be good enough."

Hughes singled out David Wotherspoon - this week handed his maiden under-21 call-up - Paul Hanlon, Danny Galbraith, Lewis Stevenson and Kurtis Byrne as those he feels are best placed to make the breakthrough.

Of Riordan's recall, Hughes said: "It's fully merited - I'm absolutely over the moon for him.

"He's worked ever so hard since I've come to the club.

"First and foremost got a right good pre-season in. I think he's only one of two players who have started every game for Hibs.

"He's scoring goals and I think it's evident now that he's really working as a team player and I think that's what got him the nod for the Scotland call-up.

"In terms of being an individual and a maverick and conjuring up bits of magic out of next to nothing, he's got that in his locker.

"It's the other side of the game that Derek has to work on and he's done that.

"If you saw him last week, he's tracking back, he's playing left-back, he's tackling, he's clearing his lines.

"And on top of that he's got his goal and made a goal."

Riordan has been criticised for some of his off-field behaviour, with the forward reportedly spending the night in a police cell last month for breach of the peace.

Hughes said: "I don't know what people's perception is of him but he's a 'huffy' boy and he's got that (negative) body language.

"But you just need to look through that and what you've got is a really talented footballer.

"If you're getting the ball to him in that last quarter, you know something can happen."

He added: "He wants to play for his country and I think there was a bit jealousy and envy over the last month watching the Scotland national team.

"We've been coming in here and there's been about five or six ex-Hibs players all in that Scotland squad, and I think Derek's been saying, 'I want to get back in that company'.

"So he's got his opportunity to go and impress George and I'm just hoping that he certainly takes that chance."

Hughes had three reasons to celebrate on Thursday as Riordan was named Clydesdale Bank Player of the Month, while the Hibs boss was named Manager of the Month.

He said: "You get a bit embarrassed, actually.

"It's the performance of the team that gets you these rewards, and long may it continue.

"It tells you that you're doing something right and it tells you that your team's doing something right.

"I'm delighted for the club."

Source: Team_Talk

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