One of the old

The Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - BY NEIL CAMERON

ON a night when young play­ers grabbed most of the head­lines, one of the old guard showed he was far from fin­ished with Scot­land.

At 31, an­cient in the minds of some sup­port­ers, there were more than a few who might well have thought Steven Fletcher was re­tired from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball.

Af­ter all, the Sh­effield Wed­nes­day striker didn’t get a call-up last time, his name hardly even mer­ited so much as a men­tion, when he’s ac­tu­ally al­ways been a good player for his coun­try.

With so much talk sur­round­ing Leigh Grif­fiths and Steven Nai­smith, Fletcher, now in dou­ble fig­ures for Scot­land, was pretty low down the list of pos­si­ble strik­ing al­ter­na­tives if peo­ple are now be- ing hon­est with them­selves. And I in­clude Alex McLeish there.

Fletcher feared he had played his last game for Scot­land. He had never made him­self un­avail­able or asked not to be se­lected. And, yet, his days did ap­pear to be num­bered.

For those of us who have al­ways ad­mired this guy, his ex­clu­sion was a puz­zle.

The hope was some­thing good would come from all the in­juries and those un­will­ing to play for their coun­try – none were missed – and Fletcher’s get­ting a re­call is cer­tainly one.

The for­mer Hiber­nian and Sun­der­land man played the role of No 9 to per­fec­tion, es­pe­cially in the first half.

His link-up play was tremen­dous, the man­ner in which he brought oth­ers, Ryan Fraser, Ryan Christie

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