Sheffield Wednesday: Owls striker Steven Fletcher sets sights on Scotland success
It was a painful experience for Steven Fletcher and everyone of a Scottish persuasion watching the European Championships over the summer.
Scotland were the only nation from the British Isles who failed to qualify for the major international tournament in France.
Most of the Home Nations, with the exception of England, acquitted themselves well on the main stage.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland reached the last 16 of the showpiece event while Wales, inspired by Gareth Bale, made it through to the semi-finals.
Fletcher, the Owls striker, told The Star: “It was hard to watch seeing all the other Home Nations playing there but that’s football. It gives our camp a bit of a lift to see them doing well.”
You have to go back to 1998 for the last time the Scots qualified for a major international tournament. Nine tournaments have come and gone since the World Cup in France.
“One of the things I want to do in my international career is play in a major tournament,” admitted Fletcher, who has yet to get off the mark in Wednesday colours since moving to Hillsborough on a free transfer at the start of July. “We fell at the final hurdle in the last qualifying campaign.
“Hopefully we will give ourselves a chance and make it this time around.”
Scotland kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign at Malta on Sunday.
Fletcher, named in Gordon Strachan’s squad along with Wednesday teammate Barry Bannan last week, said: “I want to play as many games as I can for my country. I’ve got a good relationship with Gordon. As long as I’m playing, he’ll be happy to pick me. I’ve got good experience to bring to the squad. You never take your place for granted but I’d like to think I’ve got a lot to offer.”
England, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia make up the rest of Group F.
“We’ve got a tough group,” said Fletcher. “Every international game is tough but we’ve got as good a chance as everyone else in the group.
“If we can get off to a good start, that’s going to help in the long run.”