07 Nov Paterson ready for Sterling reunion
Callum Paterson cannot wait to renew hostilities with Manchester City superstar Raheem Sterling – four years on from their battle at Tynecastle.
The 22-year-old has usurped Alan Hutton as Scotland’s first-choice right-back, starting recent qualifiers against Lithuania and Slovakia.
If he gets the nod from Gordon Strachan to face England on Friday he is likely to be tasked with shackling £49million winger Sterling, a task he has some experience of from Hearts’ 2012 Europa League tie against Liverpool.
“I’m excited to be part of that match – it’ll be the biggest game I’ve ever been involved in and a massive achievement,” Paterson said.
“For me even to be in the squad is a big thing. Hopefully I can get a game and see how Raheem has kicked on since we played Liverpool five years ago!
“Not too much, hopefully, because I played right-midfield that game and he gave me a torrid time.”
Paterson will head to Wembley on a high after notching his sixth goal of the season against St Johnstone on Saturday, rescuing a 2-2 draw after it appeared that Chris Kane’s strike had secured all three points for the Perth side.
It was a suitably grandstand finish for a thoroughly entertaining contest which saw Prince Buaben and Danny Swanson exchange goals in the first period.
Paterson added: “To score five goals in the last two matches – getting just two points – is not great at all. We need to rectify that. At the start of the season we were keeping a lot of clean sheets. We need to get back to that.
“If you don’t concede, then you don’t lose games. We’ve made things difficult for ourselves in the last couple of games.”
Meanwhile, St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright has confirmed that luckless star Chris Millar has succumbed to another injury blow.
The 33-year-old was plagued by a hamstring complaint last season and the jinx struck again when he was forced to limp off after just 26 minutes – leaving the field immediately after midfield rival Buaben had given Hearts a 1-0 lead.
Earlier this year, Millar joked about how he had been given the moniker “Billy Breakdown” by his Saints team-mates, however this potential setback is no laughing matter.
Wright said: “It’s Chris’ hamstring, which is really disappointing. Also, if I was nit-picking, if he had come off earlier we would have had a fit player to deal with the first goal. Buaben has burst through the middle and Chris couldn’t keep up with him.
“That annoys me as a manager. But Chris has had a few injuries now and that’s another one so obviously it’s a concern for us.”