FA CUP winner Shaun Maloney yesterday sent a message of hope to his old cricketing team-mate Kyle Coetzer after he was appointed Scotland cricket skipper.
And he urged Coetzer to be inspired by his own Wembley triumph with Wigan when the Scots play Pakistan in Edinburgh on Friday.
The pair were in the same Scots age-group team which Maloney led to a first win against English opposition.
Maloney said: “Best of luck to Kyle and the boys. Self-belief is a huge element in any sport and, if they can perform to their potential on the day, then anything is possible.”
Coetzer’s team take on the tourists at the Grange in the first of two one-day internationals. Victory would be an upset on a par with Wigan’s over Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday.
Spinner Majid Haq was also in the set-up with Maloney and he said: “What I remember most is trying in vain to get the ball off Shaun during the six-a-side football games we had as part of the warm-up sessions.
“He was so much better than anyone else and it was obvious he would go places.
“I am a Rangers fan, but I tracked his career and wanted him to do well when he was with Celtic.
“Then, at the weekend, I was full of awe for the way he performed at Wembley and there is a definite comparison to be drawn with Scotland v Pakistan.
“I really fancy our chances of catching them cold. Apart from the fact the weather won’t suit them, it is their first match after arriving in the UK. If eight or nine of us can fire, then of course we can win.”
Scotland coach Pete Steindl added: “I was in charge of the Under-13s back in 1996 when Shaun, Kyle and Majid were in that squad.
“What I remember most about him was the high quality of his fielding and his mature leadership talents.
“They had a great season and became the first Scotland youth side to beat an English county.
“Shaun and his Wigan colleagues underlined one of the beauties of sport at any level in terms of how the underdogs can have their day.
“That result will certainly help to inspire us against Pakistan.”
Steindl added: “Shaun was a great wee cricketer at that time when he was with Aberdeenshire.
“I am sure he would have gone on to play at a high level if he had not opted to go down the football road.”
Coetzer has represented Scotland throughout all of the youth levels and captained his country at the 2004 U19 World Cup in Bangladesh. The 29-year-old Aberdonian currently has a superb one-day international average of 49.4 from 12 ODIs.
Since signing for Durham CCC in 2005, he has built a reputation as a prolific top-order batsman, and played a key role in the Durham’s 2008 Friends Provident final victory at Lords, scoring 61. He has since moved to Northamptonshire.
He said: “This is a massive year for Scottish cricket and, personally, a huge honour to captain my country. I will be trying my very best to help Cricket Scotland continue to move forward in world cricket.”
The full squad for the weekend games will be announced today.