RIDGERS OUT TO MAKE HIS MARK
Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers is seeking to become part of an exclusive club when Scotland Under-21s meet Italy in a friendly at Easter Road on Wednesday by frustrating the visitors.
Ridgers has been a key figure in an unbeaten European Championship qualifying campaign which has seen Billy Stark's men take four points from Holland to sit one point behind the Dutch with three matches remaining.
Now the Hearts goalkeeper is aiming to shut out the Azzurri.
"Italy is a great nation, World Cup winners not that long ago," Ridgers said.
"I'm happy to take a clean sheet and a quiet game - any goalkeeper would.
"Not many people can say they've kept a clean sheet against Holland and Italy."
Wednesday's match takes place in the capital, in an excursion from their usual home at St Mirren Park.
In the most recent outing in Paisley, Ridgers played his part as Scotland held firm in a 0-0 draw with Holland, having last November gifted the Dutch an equaliser in the 2-1 win in Nijmegen.
Ridgers said: "I was disappointed to lose the goal, but it tested my character. I've seen better keepers than myself make mistakes.
"It was a case of giving my head a wee shake and I thought I handled it quite well.
"As long as I don't keep making the same mistake I know I'm improving and learning.
"It made a lot of people take notice and when we played the home game against Holland the crowd were fantastic, they wanted to see what everyone was talking about.
"For us as a team we're down to earth and we're just doing our jobs.
"We've got a great group of lads, putting on good performances and hopefully we continue that."
The Italy clash is a warm-up for next month's meeting with Bulgaria in a crucial showdown for European Championships qualification, with September meetings against Luxembourg and Austria to follow.
Although unbeaten, three draws from five matches could prove costly in a campaign where only the winners of the 10 groups and four best runners-up advance to the play-off stages.
Ridgers is set to line-up against two friends, and sometime foes, Paul Hanlon and David Wotherspoon, who scored the winner in Holland.
Hanlon and Wotherspoon are regulars for Hibernian, who Ridgers' Hearts are set to meet on May 19 in the first all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final since 1896.
Ridgers said: "When we're playing for Scotland it's a different situation than with Hearts and Hibs when for 90 minutes we wouldn't be friends."
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