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FLETCHER BACKS SCOTS

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DARREN FLETCHER insists it will be full steam ahead for Scotland against Israel at Hampden tomorrow night.

The former international skipper believes Alex McLeish’s men will be at the peak of their powers as they face a UEFA  Nations League decider following Saturday night’s 4-0 triumph in Albania.

Thirty-four-year-old Fletcher, capped 80 times, said: “It’s going to be difficult, but I think the biggest thing is they’ve saved a lot of legs and conserved a lot of energy.

“I don’t think it was a difficult game for Scotland physically, so there’ll have lots of energy about them come Tuesday.

“The turnaround will be quite short, but they’ll be ready for it.

“It’s a must-win game and it gives us a great chance to qualify. We knew the performance level in Israel wasn’t good enough.

“We allowed them too much possession and we allowed them to control the game. We weren’t aggressive enough, but I think that was partly down to the formation.

“This time it will be 4-3-3, it will be pace, it will be aggressive, there will be pressing and it will be up and at them. I think you’ll see a totally different Scotland performance.”

The former Manchester United midfielder, now with Championship side Stoke City, singled out goalscoring wingers James Forrest, who claimed two, and Ryan Fraser, who slotted in the early opener, for special praise.

It was the first Scotland strikes for the Celtic and Bournemouth wide-men and Fletcher added: “It was a great victory, a much-needed victory.

“The formation really suited us with the wide players, Ryan Fraser and James Forrest, causing problems all night.

“We sat back letting Albania have a lot of possession and we just killed them on the counter-attack, stepping up when we needed to.

“It was a comfortable night and a fantastic victory.”

Scotland have now beaten the Albanians twice, scoring six goals in the process, but they lost 2-1 in Israel last month.

A draw at the national stadium would suit the visitors as they would win the group on the head-to-head results.

However, the Scots are ready to put on a performance in front of the Tartan Army.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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