Darren Fletcher returns to Scotland squad

Sir Alex Ferguson and Darren Fletcher
Fletcher (right) has been struggling back from illness with Manchester United

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher has returned to the squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Lithuania.

But Celtic midfielder Kris Commons and Rangers left-back Lee Wallace have been left out by Craig Levein.

Fletcher has not featured for his country in 2011 after being struck down by a virus in the spring.

And Scotland coach Levein had said he would need to make "exceptional" progress to make the double header.

However, the Manchester United midfielder has been named in the squad to face the Czechs on 3 September and Lithuania three days later.

Fletcher has yet to play for the English champions this season, but Levein says his skipper is fit and ready to be involved in both matches.

"I'm thrilled," said the coach. "He's arguably our best player and a perfect role model and example to the rest of the guys in the squad.

"I will also give a special mention to Kenny Miller for his role as captain when Darren hasn't been there. He has been fantastic.

"Darren is 100%. I spoke to him on Monday night. He played 90 minutes of a reserve game the previous week and he played 90 minutes last night.

"I had someone at the game and he is looking great and he is telling me this is the best he has felt for almost a year.

"I'm delighted to have him back and the way I'm looking at it is that he will be fit to play in both matches."

Levein revealed a loss of form was the reason behind the omission of Commons, who missed the friendly against Denmark through injury, and indicated that Wallace would not have been involved either even if he had not picked up an injury in Rangers' Europa League game against Maribor.

"I just feel that Kris hasn't really hit the ground running at the start of this season," said the coach.

"When you look at him last season and the form that he was in, I just don't think he is anywhere near the same kind of form.

"For some reason, he hasn't started this season particularly well.

"He's kind of in the same bracket as Lee Wallace, who hasn't quite hit the ground running at Rangers."

Right-back Alan Hutton is included despite not featuring for Tottenham Hotspur this season amid knee problems and having pulled out of the squad that beat the Danes 2-1 at Hampden through injury.

Levein will be keen for Hutton to make the game against the Czech Republic as former Rangers team-mate Steven Whittaker is suspended for that encounter.

Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon is again missing as he recovers from knee surgery, but Cardiff midfielder Don Cowie has kept his place after featuring against the Danes following a late call-up.

Steven Fletcher continues to be absent, with Levein stressing that the Wolves striker will not be included until he indicates that he wants to play for Scotland again.

The Scots lie third in Group I, level on points with Lithuania and five behind the second-placed Czechs but with a game in hand on both.

Levein's side face trips to Liechtenstein and runaway leaders Spain in October in their final matches.

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool), Allan McGregor (Rangers), Iain Turner (Preston North End)

Defenders: Phil Bardsley (Sunderland), Christophe Berra (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Gary Caldwell (Wigan Athletic), Stephen Crainey (Blackpool), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers), Alan Hutton (Tottenham Hotspur), Steven Whittaker (Rangers), Danny Wilson (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Liverpool), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), Scott Brown (Celtic), Don Cowie (Cardiff City), Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion), Darren Fletcher (Manchester United), James Forrest (Celtic), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Barry Robson (Middlesbrough), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United),

Forwards: David Goodwillie (Blackburn Rovers), Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton and Hove Albion), Kenny Miller (Cardiff City), Steven Naismith (Rangers).

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