QPR’s Jamie Mackie ready to fill Steven Fletcher’s Scotland void
QPR's Jamie Mackie insists he is ready to step up for Scotland in the continued absence of Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher
Jamie Mackie has insisted he is ready to step up for Scotland in the continued absence of Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher.
The Queens Park Rangers forward was used sparingly by Craig Levein in Scotland’s opening World Cup qualifiers – the 27-year-old was a late substitute in the goalless draw with Serbia before he was played out wide in a 1-1 stalemate with Macedonia at Hampden Park.
Fletcher, who has netted four goals since moving to the Black Cats this summer, is currently enduring an international exile due to an on-going feud with Levein.
It leaves Mackie with the opportunity to compete for a central striker role with Kenny Miller, and the former Plymouth Argyle star insists he would relish the opportunity to play down the middle.
“Well yes [Fletcher’s absence does open the door] but like I’ve been saying, I haven’t really been playing up front for either club or country,” said Mackie.
“I’ve been playing more of a wide role. So it’s not really directly for me to get that role. But I love playing down the middle if I get the opportunity.
“If I do get the opportunity, I’ll grab it with both hands. It’s something [lack of goals] we need to address.
“But we’ve got a couple of good points on the board and Wales are next so a good opportunity for us to get some points.”
With Scotland finding the net just once in their last two games, Levein is coming under increasing pressure to find a solution to his side’s struggles in front of goal.
Mackie believes his most effective position is at centre-forward, but the QPR striker understands the difficulty of the role, adding he is willing to play anywhere for Scotland’s cause.
“I’m not going to say I’m the answer because there are other good players, it’s not one player who can turn it around – it’s all of us as a team,” added Mackie.
“I’m not going to be the one who says I’m the answer down the middle because it’s an extremely tough role.
“Kenny Miller has played it for a number of years, and sometimes it can be a thankless task.
“Of course I’m happy to do it. I’m happy to play anywhere for my country. I’m happy to play there, and I’m happy to play out wide, I can still score goals from there.
“I’m sure we’ll get a win on the board and the nation can get behind us.”