Hearts star could miss Scotland game after cap call snub

LITHUANIAN national coach Raimondas Zutautas has threatened to exclude the Hearts defender Marius Zaliukas from the European Championship Group I opener with Scotland in September.

• Threat: Marius Zaliukas could miss Lithuania's match against Scotland

Zaliukas failed to join the Lithuanian squad for the three-team Baltic Cup at the weekend which involved Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

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Zutautas was unimpressed by the non-appearance and, despite the 26-year-old being one of Lithuania's most experienced and established players, the national coach said he would have no problem leaving him out.

"There are injuries (at the moment] and if these players come back fit then, of course, maybe Zaliukas will stay out of the squad," said Zutautas.

Zaliukas, on loan at Tynecastle from Lithuanian club FBK Kaunas until December, remains the clear favourite to be appointed Hearts captain before the new SPL season commences in August.

Michael Stewart vacated the armband at the end of last season after a fallout with team management, and the centre-back is the preferred choice to replace him.

Lithuania drew 0-0 with Latvia before overcoming Estonia 2-0 to win the Baltic Cup. "I am satisfied with the (Estonia] game, no doubt, and the outcome," said Zutautas. "Although we were able to score more, we had several excellent opportunities. We demonstrated that we know and we can fight."

Lithuania and Scotland meet in Kaunas on 3 September in the first match of the Euro 2012 qualifying series.