Ryan Fraser: Bournemouth winger defend Scotland absence in Kazakhstan

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Missing Kazakhstan was joint decision - Fraser

Winger Ryan Fraser insists the decision to sit out Scotland's calamitous Euro 2020 qualifying defeat in Kazakhstan last month was not solely his.

The Bournemouth player missed the abject 3-0 defeat against the world's 117th-best side due to injury fears over playing on their synthetic pitch.

Fraser, 25, says he has twice suffered long-term damage playing on artificial surfaces while with Scotland.

"It came out that it was my decision, but it was everyone's," Fraser said.

"We played a training game at Oriam and I pulled my hamstring and I was out for four months. I came back and trained on a different astro with Scotland and did my knee and was out for five months.

"The decision wasn't just mine, wasn't just Bournemouth's - it was all three of us, Scotland as well. We didn't want to take the risk of playing the game and then being out for a long time."

Former Scotland captain Darren Fletcher questioned the commitment of the players who did not play in Kazakhstan because of the pitch.

As well as Fraser, Cardiff City's Callum Paterson was excused from duty and Sheffield Wednesday's Steven Fletcher made himself unavailable despite playing for his club.

"It's never nice to hear a Scotland legend saying that," Fraser said. "Maybe he hasn't had the injuries on astroturf that I have."

'We can still reach Euro 2020'

Both Fraser and Paterson returned for the second match of the double-header and started as Alex McLeish's side toiled to an unconvincing 2-0 win in San Marino.

McLeish and the team were booed by the Scotland support and Fraser admits it left the players scared to express themselves.

"I have never experienced that situation," he said. "You start to get nervous, start to play safe. You don't want to be the one who makes the mistake."

McLeish is under intense pressure after the underwhelming start to the campaign. Fraser, well aware of the criticism aimed at the manager, is convinced he can still steer the nation to the finals.

"I look at social media sometimes. It was the first thing trending," Fraser said. "I didn't go in and read them because I know what people can be like. It wasn't nice for him.

"I see people saying we're out of the qualifying stage already - I don't believe it. No one will remember the San Marino performance if we qualify."

Read the full interview with Ryan Fraser on the BBC Sport Scotland website later on Saturday

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