Fletcher still retains hope
Scotland midfielder looking to push Czechs all the way
Last Updated: September 5, 2011 12:15pm
Scotland international midfielder Darren Fletcher insists the squad still believe they can qualify for Euro 2012 despite their Czech Republic disappointment.
Craig Levein's side were minutes from a crucial qualifying success over the Czechs prior to conceding a controversial late penalty which Michal Kadlec scored at Hampden Park.
Scotland were denied a penalty of their own leaving their hopes of playing in Poland and Ukraine next summer hanging by a thread in their quest to finish Group I in second spot behind Spain.
Fletcher acknowledges it is going to be hard to finish ahead of the Czechs, although he insists the squad still believes and will be doing all they can to apply pressure and land an unlikely play-off spot.
"Going into the game I said we still had a chance even if we didn't win it, even though it looks like an uphill battle now with the position we're in just now," he told Sky Sports News.
"We've got to keep believing that somehow we can do it. We're still in the group.
"There's still a slim chance of us qualifying and we'll keep fighting. We don't want to hand it to the Czech Republic by not doing our job.
"If we can go into the last game ahead of them who knows what'll happen. We've got to do our job."
Fletcher insists nobody in Scotland's squad is dwelling on their Czech disappointment and that everyone is focused on securing a positive result at home to Liechtenstein on Tuesday.
"What's done is done. We can't change the result of that match now. We can't change the referee's decisions," he continued. "We can only look forward and look forward to the Lithuania game.
"Trying to get after the referee now doesn't do any good. He's made his mistakes. We look back at the game and look at the position we were in and feel we should have won the game anyway.
"We're not hiding behind the referee. There's things we could have done better. We're making great strides. We played some good football on Saturday."
Scotland will be without key duo Kenny Miller and Scott Brown for Tuesday's game due to suspension while Liverpool playmaker Charlie Adam is also missing after damaging his hip against Czech Republic.
Fletcher knows the trio are key players for the nation, although he sees their absence as a chance for someone else to step into the void and stake their claim for a regular spot in Levein's side.
He said: "It's a massive blow. They are three important players for us. Kenny has been fantastic in that lone striker role throughout his Scotland career. Sometimes he's got a thankless task on his own. He performed fantastically on Saturday along with Scott and Charlie.
"It gives someone else a chance to come in. I spoke about Scotland having a great squad last week and it's a chance to prove that."
Fletcher made his return to competitive action at the weekend after missing the early stages of the season for Manchester United through illness and he suffered no ill-effects from 90 minutes of action on Saturday.
He said: "I feel fine. I've got no knocks or pains. I feel as if I'm ready to go again on Tuesday and another 90 minutes if possible."