Fletcher lifts Scots before World Cup campaign

Scotland 4 Trinidad & Tobago 1

Sunshine on Leith yesterday found Scotland proclaiming their potential to challenge Italy, Norway and Slovenia when the World Cup qualifying campaign starts in September. Against an admittedly poor Trinidad & Tobago team, the Manchester United prodigy, Darren Fletcher, inspired them to their biggest win under Berti Vogts' management.

The calypso football, such as it was, came from Scotland during a first half in which they led the 'Soca Warriors' 4-0 with barely a third of this friendly played. Fletcher, strutting the Easter Road stage just eight miles from his home in the former mining community of Dalkeith, opened the scoring in style and made all the remaining three goals.

Vogts, who many observers had not expected to reach the end of the season with Scotland after the drubbings by the Netherlands and Wales, drooled about the "fantastic entertainment, the movement, the passing". Acknowledging a supremely assured display by the 20-year-old Fletcher, he added: "Darren is one of the biggest talents in Europe."

Cynics suggested Vogts had arranged end-of-term fixtures with Estonia and Trinidad so that Scotland might reacquaint themselves with the concept of winning. If so, the ploy worked, although the poverty of the opposition here should stop anyone from becoming carried away.

Vogts blooded two more players in Jamie McAllister and Craig Gordon. That took the number he has used in two and a half years to 62, of which 37 have been new caps. Gordon started nervously, almost conceding an own goal as he miscontrolled Malky Mackay's back-pass.

By then, however, Scotland already led with a goal as ruthlessly executed as it was cleverly set up. James McFadden used his upper-body strength to hold off Marvin Andrews before back-heeling the ball to Fletcher. A drive of laser precision brought his second international goal.

Trinidad appeared unwilling or unable to pick up Fletcher, who moved into space with ease and displayed an air of nonchalance to his passing. His right-wing cross created the second goal, bravely headed in by Gary Holt when Clayton Ince hesitated before belatedly bundling into him.

Ince was badly at fault for the third goal. Fletcher's corner offered a routine catch, but he let the ball reach the far post. Gary Caldwell, a Hibs man on home turf, scored with a sharp downward header.

An exquisite pass by Fletcher led to a fourth goal before half-time. Its target, Stevie Crawford, put in a shot which cannoned off Ince's legs to Nigel Quashie 20 yards out. The Londoner side-footed into the unguarded net, prompting a chorus of "You're not English any more" from the Tartan Army.

Trinidad, who stand only 12 places behind Scotland at 75th in Fifa's world rankings, drew upon clubs in China, the United States, Scotland, Wales and England. They had beaten Iraq 2-0 at West Bromwich a week earlier, yet their performance was more collapso than calypso.

When they finally mustered a shot, 10 minutes into the second half, they scored. Stern John thrashed the ball beyond Gordon following a pass by Carlos Edwards, although Mackay complained angrily that the Birmingham striker had tripped him during the build-up.

Quashie, who was unexpectedly adopted as a cult figure by the fans, showed skill and tenacity to suggest he and Fletcher could form a useful partnership. Gordon, too, recovered from his earlier lapse, saving well from John, Andre Boucaud and Kerwyn Jemmot to protect the Scots' most emphatic winning margin since they beat San Marino 4-0 in 2001.

The only sour note came when McFadden used a post-match interview with Sky to berate the pundit and former Scotland player Charlie Nicholas, a consistent critic of Vogts. He was pulled away by a Scottish FA official, no doubt mindful that the channel have paid £27m to cover their World Cup games, but no other player would speak to the station.

Goals: Fletcher (6) 1-0; Holt (14) 2-0; G Caldwell (23) 3-0; Quashie (34) 4-0; John (55) 4-1.

Scotland (4-4-2): Gordon; McNamara, Pressley, Mackay (McNamee, 85), McAllister; Quashie (Hughes, 72), G Caldwell (S Caldwell, 79), Fletcher, Holt (Kerr, 54); McFadden (Webster, 85), Crawford (Miller, 68). Substitutes not used: Gallacher, McCulloch, Shearer.

Trinidad & Tobago (3-5-2): Ince; Sancho, Cox, Andrews; Edwards (Theobald, 90), Dwarika (Nixon, 74), Eve (Jemmot, 81), Jones (Rojas, 45), Mason; Glen (Boucaud, 30), John. Substitutes not used: King, Baptiste, Williams.

Referee: P Vink (Netherlands).

Attendance: 16,187.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits