JAMES MCFADDEN has said that World Cup qualification would be a fitting vindication for Craig Gordon and Darren Fletcher after they fought back from off-field trauma to return to top-flight football.

McFadden was part of the youth players that Berti Vogtz gave their debuts to, along with the pair.

Both Gordon and Fletcher had potentially career ending injuries but now the pair, 34 and 33 respectively, are on the verge of reaching the play-offs.

“I’d be delighted for everybody, but for Craig Gordon and Darren Fletcher, two boys who have had so much to deal with off the pitch in terms of their injuries and illness, it would be absolutely fantastic.”

“I wish I could have got there and there will be other players that’ll wish they could have got there too, but there would be absolutely no bitterness from me. It’s all support. I hope they do it. There aren’t two more deserving players for me.”

McFadden reflected upon both of the players’ performances on Thursday against Slovakia, where the players handled the pressure to get a late, vital victory.

“The game against Slovakia was, up to this point, the biggest game in the group. Scott Brown has been excellent and he drops out, but there is no one better to come in than Darren with all his experience to use.

“Craig hardly had a save to make. He’ll have been delighted that it was probably one of his quietest nights. They have come through so much. As a Scotland player, you are going to be up and down, mostly down, but they are so close now.”

McFadden, who is currently with Queen of the South, scored 15 goals in 48 performances for Scotland and he reckons that the current moment of the side could catapult them into the play-offs and perhaps further.

“It would be a great achievement to get the play-offs and the way the momentum is going, you never know what could happen no matter who we get.”


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