Darren Fletcher keen to finally end Scotland heartache

Darren Fletcher hopes his days of suffering heartache with Scotland are finally behind him.

Scotland's Darren Fletcher at full-time against Slovakia. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Scotland's Darren Fletcher at full-time against Slovakia. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

The stand-in skipper, pictured below, put on a leader’s performance as he marshalled his troops to a crucial win over Slovakia at Hampden on Thursday night.

The 1-0 victory now sets up the Scots for a make-or-break clash with Slovenia tomorrow. Victory will guarantee second spot and should be enough to book a slot in the play-offs.

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Having missed out on a host of major tournaments with the national team, 79-cap veteran Fletcher is determined to take his place at next year’s World Cup in Russia.

“I’m probably the member of the squad who has suffered the most heartache playing for Scotland,” the 33-year-old Stoke midfielder said. “I’ve been so close a few times in these final games only for them to go against us. I’m not getting any younger and I know there’s not too many chances left, so Sunday’s match is vitally important.

“But it means just as much to the rest of the boys as it does to me and it means just as much to the whole country.

“I’ve reiterated how important this game will be to the rest of the lads – but you’ve got to get a fine balance between making sure that we’re calm and we believe in ourselves and we’re not going over there going crazy.

“You don’t want to concede goals, you’ve got to stay in the game. You have to be wary of all these things. You can be too up for it as well.

“You saw that with Slovakia – red cards, yellow cards. Referees are capable of anything so we keep calm heads and keep doing what we’ve been doing.

“It’s not going to be easy on Sunday. We’ve only done half the job by beating Slovakia. But we will go to Slovenia with confidence in a position that we’d have taken a long time ago.”