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Captain Fletcher issues rally cry
Published : 04 Sep 2011 18:30:26
Scotland captain Darren Fletcher has urged his team-mates not to allow their Euro 2012 qualification campaign to fizzle out despite the abject disappointment of their 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic.
Fletcher's 82nd-minute goal looked set to give Scotland the win they needed to put themselves back on course to qualify for the play-offs. But a controversial penalty decision allowed Michal Kadlec to level in the final minute and leave Scotland with an uphill struggle to finish second.
The Czechs remain five points ahead and will definitely finish above Scotland if they beat Spain at home and then Lithuania away in their final two games. Scotland continue their campaign at home to Lithuania on Tuesday and Fletcher said: "We can't finish this group on a whimper."
He added: "The Czechs have got two difficult games but if we don't do our job then what they do is irrelevant.
"We don't want it to be us not doing our jobs and then find out they have dropped points which meant we could have qualified.
"We have got to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we take maximum points and put them under a little bit of pressure.
"It is a big task because it's out of our hands. All we can do is concentrate on ourselves and hope for a bit of luck in their games."
However, Scotland manager Craig Levein faces major selection problems for the Hampden clash.
Both Scott Brown and Kenny Miller, who scored Scotland's opening goal and created Fletcher's, are suspended after being among the nine players booked by Dutch referee Kevin Blom.
Phil Bardsley, Alan Hutton and Charlie Adam are all injury doubts while Steven Naismith is taking painkillers for a hip problem. And Naismith and David Goodwillie could be Levein's only two options for the centre-forward role as Craig Mackail-Smith is struggling with a back problem.