Veteran midfielder Darren Fletcher has a knee injury and been ruled out of Scotland's 2018 World Cup qualifiers with Lithuania and Malta it was revealed on Thursday.

The 33-year-old former Manchester United star – who moved to Stoke from Premier League rivals West Brom in the close season – did not fly out with the squad for the Lithuania match.

His absence is a big blow for Scotland manager Gordon Strachan.

"The injury is a knee injury," said Strachan.

"He is a fantastic example of how you behave as an international player, a top player on and off the pitch."

Wins against the two bottom sides would keep the Scots hopes alive of at least a runners-up spot and a possible play-off as eight of the nine second-placed teams go into the play-offs.

The Scots presently trail Group F leaders England by six points and second-placed Slovakia by four points with four matches remaining.