Steven Fletcher earns recall as Alex McLeish addresses Scotland striker crisis

Ryan Christie, Steven Fletcher and Matt Phillips have been handed Scotland recalls as Alex McLeish looks to solve his striking crisis ahead of this month's crucial UEFA Nations League matches against Albania and Israel.

Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 3:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 3:18 pm
Steven Fletcher takes part in a Scotland training session during a previous call-up. Picture: Getty Images

Injuries to Celtic hitman Leigh Griffiths and Hearts attacker Steven Naismith have left the national team boss short on options up top.

Now McLeish has turned to on-form Celtic playmaker Christie, Sheffield Wednesday striker Fletcher and West Brom forward Phillips as he looks for the firepower that will keep Scotland’s hopes of topping Group C1 alive.

Uility man Callum Paterson is also back in McLeish’s set-up up following his impressive recent displays for Cardiff while Michael Devlin - a late call-up ahead of last month’s friendly defeat to Portugal - is back in as cover for injured Hearts defender John Souttar.

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Aberdeen winger Gary MacKay-Steven was another drafted in midway through last month’s international break and also retains his place.

However, Celtic defender Jack Hendry, Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay and West Ham wideman Robert Snodgrass have all been overlooked.

McLeish admits he is feeling the pressure after last month’s defeat to Israel - but aims to use the scrutiny of his position as fuel to inspire his team to victory.

“There is always pressure,” he said. “It’s a highly popular game is football. It’s worldwide and being at he top of the tree brings pressure.

“You saw Jose Mourinho recently admitting that even the great Jose Mourinho had felt a wee bit of pressure.

“But it’s something that you use to empower yourself and make yourself better. And I think that’s something I’ve done all my career.”