Kenny Miller has backed Rangers team-mate Steven Whittaker to rise to the challenge if given the nod for Scotland's crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against the Netherlands.

Whittaker earned only his second cap when he was thrown into the action against FYR Macedonia on Saturday when Callum Davidson limped off after just 13 minutes.

The Preston skipper has been ruled out of Wednesday's clash with a hamstring injury, meaning the Ibrox full-back could be called upon again as Scotland bid to clinch a play-off spot. Miller said: "He is just as comfortable on the left side as he is on the right and has two great feet.

"He has a great engine and he can offer us something on the left or the right. He gets forward as well as being a good defender and had a couple of good chances himself. Maybe he should have passed a couple to me. He did well and if he is given the nod on Wednesday, I'm sure he won't let anybody down."

He has a great engine and he can offer us something on the left or the right. He gets forward as well as being a good defender ... I'm sure he won't let anybody down,

Kenny Miller on Scotland and Rangers team-mate Steven Whittaker.

Goals from Scott Brown and James McFadden secured a 2-0 win over Macedonia, with Miller passing up a couple of opportunities to add his own name to the scoresheet. He said: "It was disappointing because I wanted to score but the result was the main thing.

"We managed to get a 2-0 victory and it could have been a lot more in the end. Getting the goal quite early in the second half made them attack us a little bit more and we were able to pick them off and create a lot of chances.

"If you look back at the first game we played against them in that searing heat, they tired more than us towards the end. I felt we finished really strongly in that game and it was the same again here. Their heads were down a little bit and we knew we could take advantage of them and probably on another day we could have had three or four."

Scots anxiety
Pressure had been mounting on boss George Burley since last month's 4-0 thrashing in Norway and skipper Darren Fletcher revealed the win over Macedonia was for the Scotland manager as much as anyone else. "Of course - every game you want to go and play for your manager," he said.

"And the players have had great respect for George Burley in this campaign, because of the way he's taken the brunt of the criticism, he's always shielded the players and taken it himself.

"He's never let it affect him; he's been positive every time we've met up, he's backed the players - he's been great. Obviously, we want to win for ourselves, we want to win for the fans, we want to win for everyone, and for the manager as well."

With confidence high in the Scotland camp, Fletcher sees no reason why they cannot produce a similar result against the Dutch. He said: "We're at home. With the fans behind us like they were on Saturday, we've got one hell of a chance.

"It's not going to be easy playing against a top-class side. It can't be gung-ho, it can't be all-out attack. We're going to have to be patient, we're going to have to get men behind the ball, we're going to have to be disciplined. But when it's right we're going to try to get players forward and get the win."