MOTHERWELL midfielder Steven Hetherington is adamant the Europa League qualifier against Levante is not dead despite the La Liga side winning 2-0 at Fir Park last week.
Hetherington made his first start against St Mirren on Sunday and is in line to keep his place for the second leg in Valencia tonight as ’Well’s injury crisis grows.
The 19-year-old says making your senior bow is what every young player dreams of.
He said: “When you are a youngster playing in the street, or even last season when I was in the under-19s you hope one day to make the step up.
“The manager told me I was being looked on to make a contribution in the first team and after getting on against St Johnstone and Kilmarnock it was great to be handed a start.
“Now though there is the added excitement of possibly starting a European game, it is obviously a step up from the SPL and to be able to test myself at that level would just be incredible.”
Tom Hateley and Simon Ramsden missed the 1-1 draw with the Buddies and are set to be joined on the sidelines by Nicky Law and Michael Higdon while Shaun Hutchinson is suspended.
But Hetherington is still hopeful of springing a surprise.
He said: “Levante are a very good side, they must be to have beaten Barcelona and matched Real Madrid last season.
“We are two goals down and we didn’t play well in the first leg so are in the same position as Panathinaikos, but on our day we can match anyone.
“Last season we matched Celtic and Rangers I believe they were better sides than Levante, but it’s crucial that we score first and the earlier the better to give us a chance.”
After returning from Spain, ‘Well face Inverness Caley Thistle at Fir Park on Sunday and Hetherington says not having to travel should make life easier.
He said: “We won’t be coming back from Spain until Friday so to then travel to Inverness on Saturday would have taken a lot of energy out of us.
“It’s just vital that we rest as well as we can in order to use being at home to our advantage.”