Steven Fletcher, Scotland striker:
I feel my game's about more than goals but you know as a striker that people don't judge you on how many times you link up play, but on how many you score. So I was conscious of the fact it had been so long [six years since last international strike]. That said, my confidence genuinely hasn't been dented. You just enjoy these days when they come along, and they don't come much better than scoring a hat-trick for your country.
I only realised after the match that I'm the first Scottish player [to score an international hat-trick] in so long [since 1969 when Colin Stein scored four in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Cyprus]. That was a shock. I wondered if Shaun [Maloney, who scored twice in the first half against Gibraltar] might get there first, but a few of the lads came up after my second and said: 'Go on, make sure you get the match ball.'
"It meant a lot that he [Scotland manager Gordon Strachan] stuck with me, but that's the way he is. The gaffer's made a point of standing by the guys who've got us to this position and saying that, whatever anyone else says, he knows we're good players. I'm delighted to have repaid a bit of that faith.
Steven Fletcher said his first goal against Gibraltar "seemed to take an age to go in" as he became Scotland's first international hat-trick scorer since 1969.Lining up at Hampden, the Sunderland AFC forward was certainly all too aware that six years had passed since his one and only national-team goal. Fast forward 90 minutes, though, and the 28-year-old was looking at statistics and scrutiny that could not have contrasted more starkly. Not only had the drought ended in a 6-1 Group D win; the former Hibernian FC forward had made history, becoming the first Scot in almost half a century to score an international hat-trick. Fletcher could not suppress a smile as he clutched both the game ball and a well-earned man of match award.
|2002/04||Play-off for Final Tournament||10||5||2||3|
|1998/00||Play-off for Final Tournament||12||6||3||3|
|1994/96||Final tournament - Group stage||13||8||3||2|
|Full UEFA competition record|
|UEFA European Football Championship||111||53||25||33|
|FIFA World Cup||138||61||32||45|