Scotland legend Colin Stein praises Steven Fletcher after hat-trick
Last Updated: 31/03/15 11:32am
Colin Stein believes Steven Fletcher can help fire Scotland to the next year's European Championship finals in France.
Fletcher scored a hat-trick in Sunday's 6-1 victory over Gibraltar which lifted the Scots into third place in Group D, level on points with Germany and one behind leaders Poland.
Rangers legend Stein, the last man to score a hat-trick for Scotland - against Cyprus in 1969 - believes the Scots can end an 18-year wait to reach a major finals but insists the outcome of their next match against the Republic of Ireland will be key.
Scotland travel to Dublin to face Martin O'Neill's side on June 13 knowing victory at the Aviva would all-but rule out one of their main rivals for the two automatic qualification places.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Stein, the subject of the first £100,000 transfer between two Scottish clubs when he left Hibernian for Ibrox in 1968, said: "I missed Steven's hat-trick goals as I was at a concert to see my grandson playing.
"But when I got home by the number of messages on my phone I knew my record had been equalled. I must admit I thought Shaun Maloney would have been the one to do it after his two penalties but then Steven got a couple."
Asked if Sunderland striker Fletcher, who had scored just once in his previous 19 internationals, could help Scotland qualify for France 2016, Stein added: "He hasn't been prolific, but he certainly has the ability.
"He's good in the air and he's got a good left tab so this will do his confidence a lot of good and that is what striking is all about.
"The big game will certainly be the one against Ireland. I watched them on Sunday against Poland and the atmosphere was electric and I think it will be the same when Scotland go there.
"It was a hard game between the sides in Glasgow and I don't think there is much between them. But if Scotland go there and get a result it will go a long way to helping them qualify from this group."