Lure of Birmingham too much for McLeish says Hutton

Last updated at 18:15 29 February 2008

Alan Hutton claims he can understand why Alex McLeish swapped his job as Scotland manager for a relegation dogfight with Birmingham.

Hutton, the 23-year-old right-back, played under McLeish for Scotland in their

inspirational Euro 2008 qualifiers, and both have since moved south.

Birmingham recruited McLeish following Steve Bruce's departure, while Hutton

secured an £8million move from Rangers to Tottenham in January - and the pair

face each other for the first time this weekend.

"I wasn't really surprised," said Hutton. "It was totally understandable.

It's a massive job coming here so it was a great opportunity for him, like

myself, to be down here.

"Hopefully I can do really well and, hopefully, so can he."

While Rangers boss, McLeish helped Hutton return from a double leg break - a

similar injury to the one Eduardo suffered at St Andrews last week.

Hutton then impressed under McLeish for Rangers and Scotland, his performances

catching the eye of the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Spurs sporting director

Damien Comolli.

This season he was part of Scotland's famous victory over France then put in a

man-of-the-match performance in the heartbreaking defeat to Italy last November,

cruelly getting penalised at the death for the free-kick leading to the winner.

Spurs bid for him in January and after initially delaying the deal to consider

the impact of the move for his young family, he then made his move south.

"It's such a massive, massive media presence for people all around the world,

everyone wants to play here because it's such a good league," he said.

"I'm here getting tested week-in week-out, no matter who you play. Top

internationals are playing for every team. That's one of the main reasons for

playing here.

"I wanted to come down and test myself against these players and make myself a

better player. Playing against players like that, you're obviously going to make

yourself a better player yourself."

In his third match for Spurs he was part of the Carling Cup victory over

Chelsea last week, sparking celebrations long into the night at an Essex


"The missus was saying that had better not be happening every week," Hutton


He now faces McLeish at St Andrews and is determined to put one over his former

boss, despite their history together for Rangers and Scotland.

"It's a different matter now," Hutton added. "It'll be the first time I've

actually been in a team playing against him so it'll be a wee bit different but

hopefully we can get the victory."

Spurs centre-back Jonathan Woodgate is a doubt for the clash at St Andrews

after picking up a sprained ankle in the Carling Cup final.

Skipper Ledley King is expected to be rested, while left-backs Benoit

Assou-Ekotto (knee) and Gareth Bale (foot) have been ruled out for the season.

Defenders Michael Dawson (hamstring) and Gilberto (calf) are edging closer to

full training.

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