Callum Paterson insists he’ll use the heartache of being denied a starting spot against England on Friday night by proving he’s worthy of one next time Scotland play the Auld Enemy.
Hearts right-back Paterson had been given the nod by Scotland boss Gordon Strachan in the first three World Cup qualifiers – the 5-1 win in Malta, 1-1 draw with Lithuania and 3-0 defeat by Slovakia – but was surprisingly dropped to the bench for Scotland’s trip to Wembley. Ikechi Anya came in to replace him, but the Derby County man could do little to shore up the Scotland defence as they went down 3-0 to Gareth Southgate’s side.
Paterson did come on for the final ten minutes in London, but the 21-year-old admitted it was a “blow” to be left out of the team and is now more determined than ever to make sure he’s handed a shirt from the start when Scotland play England at Hampden in June.
“I found out on Friday morning I wasn’t in the team and yes, it was a blow,” Paterson said. “I’m not used to not playing, so that’s something I had to learn and cope with and I think I did that.
“I would love to play when England come to Hampden in June. It’s a massive stage.”
Paterson feels that the three-goal margin in defeat was harsh on the Scots, but also rued the chances Scotland spurned when the match was still finely balanced.
“It was a disappointing night all round. I didn’t think we deserved to lose 3-0,” he said.
“They didn’t have ten or 15 chances — they had three or four and took three. That’s the difference between winning and losing. You have to take your chances and we just didn’t do that.
“The frustrating thing is our game-plan worked. We aimed to stop them having chances and that’s what we did.
“We knew they would get one or two opportunities because they are a top quality team. And when they got them they took them.”
Meanwhile, former Scotland international Graeme Souness has backed Strachan, right, to continue in his role as Scotland coach despite the miserable start to the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Strachan is expected to have talks about his future next week after the defeat to England left the Scots in fifth place in Group F with little chance of reaching the finals.
But Souness insisted Strachan is doing the best he can with a poor group of players – and questioned whether anybody else is better-equipped to do the job.
Souness said: “So far this year the results have not been great, but you’ve got to believe that results will get better.
“Will they qualify out of this group? No they won’t, but right now Scotland are in a cycle where they don’t have a great deal to pick from.
“The question of whether he (Strachan) should stay or go is not important. Is there someone out there who could make us better? I don’t believe there is. I think he is getting the most from a very modest group.”
Souness played in three World Cups for his country and admits it is painful to see them consistently fail to mount a challenge to return to the major finals.
But despite a significant backlash in Scotland, Souness said the performance at Wembley – in which Scotland threatened to equalise when trailing 1-0 – needed to be put into perspective.
He added: “They were not humiliated, they were beaten by a better team with better players than them, and that’s generally what happens.
“Making mistakes and not being able to score goals at the other end is a dangerous combination, but right now that is what Scotland have.”