Steven Fletcher - Scotland talent 'better than I thought' after Albania win

Steven Fletcher celebrates a Scotland goal with Andy Robertson and Ryan Fraser
Steven Fletcher (left) celebrates a Scotland goal with Andy Robertson and Ryan Fraser
Nations League: Scotland v Israel
Venue: Hampden Park, Date: Tuesday, 20 November Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen live on Radio Scotland & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Scotland's current crop of players are better than Steven Fletcher thought after the striker won his first cap in 13 months in Saturday's win in Albania.

The Sheffield Wednesday striker scored a penalty, his 10th goal for his country, as Scotland won 4-0 to reignite their Nations League campaign.

"It is a young energetic squad; the quality is there to be seen," he said.

"You don't understand how good players are until you train with them. You see how high the tempo is, and it's good."

Wingers Ryan Fraser and James Forrest both scored their first goals for Scotland, with Forrest - winning his 25th cap - netting a second-half double against an Albania side reduced to 10 men in the first half.

Fletcher's goal was his first for his country in over two years, which he said topped off his return to the national side.

He admitted he even enjoyed being a spectator after being replaced by Matt Phillips in the 68th minute.

"It's nice to be back with these boys," said the 31-year-old. "They've got a good group of young talent there. It's nice just to be part of it.

"For the young lads, it was a professional performance by them. They [Albania] went down to 10 men early and sometimes that can work in their favour and not in ours, but we did well, we kept the ball, and when I came off it was good to just sit back and watch them passing the ball about; they were very good."

'Hopefully I can push them through this group'

Scotland now face Israel at Hampden on Tuesday, where a win would ensure they top Group C1 and earn a play-off spot.

"It's a big game, but we know that," added Fletcher. "Obviously we put in a big performance today and we can take confidence from that.

"With my injury I was out for a long time, so I just set my mind on getting back at club level and trying to get back fit and playing, and I managed to do that. I've been putting in good performances at club level and the manager has seen that.

"I'm glad he gave me the call when he did. At my age I'm going to jump at the chance to get a few more caps and hopefully push them through this group."

Analysis - Fletcher 'a very clever footballer'

Dundee's former Rangers & Scotland striker Kenny Miller on Sportsound:

"Fletcher was not blessed with blistering pace but he has always had a very good technique. He is a very clever footballer.

"He might not have been in the squad had everyone been available but I thought he was great. There is not a great deal of experience when you look through the team, but he brought something to it and got his 10th international goal - albeit a penalty - which was fully deserved.

"He held the ball up well and with his all-round game, he sucked in defenders which allowed the wingers to get into the space behind.

"They have found a system now which I think suits us. It allows wingers to be wingers, to be really aggressive going forward. They don't have to play wing-back and use a lot of energy getting back.

"They still put in a shift but they have a team-mate behind them now. A lot more of their energy can be used to do what they do well, which is creating and scoring goals and using their pace to dribble with the ball."

Scotland group: 1st Israel, 2nd Scotland, 3rd Albania


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