Scotland may use Naismith and Fletcher pairing

Scotland Coach Mark McGhee looks ahead to his side's Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia. Picture: SNS
Scotland Coach Mark McGhee looks ahead to his side's Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia. Picture: SNS
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SCOTLAND assistant boss Mark McGhee claims Steven Fletcher may have played himself into the side that will face Georgia on Saturday with his weekend double.

The Sunderland striker netted his first goals since December in the Black Cats’ 3-1 win over Stoke to end a 10-month scoring drought.

McGhee believes the former Hibernian frontman’s return to form is perfectly timed as Scotland shape up for their second Euro 2016 qualifier at Ibrox.

Fletcher was left on the bench for the Group D opener with Germany last month but Gordon Strachan’s number two says the 27-year-old has leapt up the Scots’ pecking order.

“If we’d had a game three weeks ago when Stevie wasn’t even in the Sunderland squad, then you imagine that he would have come here with a totally different outlook,” said McGhee as he spoke to the media at the team’s Mar Hall base.

“But now he has arrived feeling great about himself. Could that sway minds in terms of selection? Absolutely.

“Gordon will consider all sorts of criteria when picking his team but how a player is doing at any particular time is vital to that.

“When we’re scouting the guys, we don’t write up reports based on how a player was doing six weeks ago. We watch them the game before an international and it is the current form, current state of mind and current fitness that is relevant to us.”

Everton forward Steven Naismith was chosen to lead the line in Dortmund as Scotland went down to a brave 2-1 defeat.

But four goals in eight games for the Goodison side this term mean there is no chance of Strachan dumping the former Rangers man from his team.

McGhee, however, would be happy to see him paired with Fletcher in a two-pronged attack.

The former Motherwell and Aberdeen boss said: “Naismith has shown a flexibility with the way he has been playing for Everton that makes that an option.

“He’s been playing up front with Romelu Lukaku just off him, or Lukaku up front with Stevie off him, or even playing out to the side.

“He can play just about anywhere in that forward area and his form is so good it is difficult to ignore him.”


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