Darren Fletcher will lead Scotland into battle with Norway on Saturday after the Manchester United midfielder was handed the captain's armband for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier.

Fletcher, who will be winning his 40th cap on Saturday, got the nod in the absence of regular captain Barry Ferguson and Celtic defender Stephen McManus.

"Darren has been an outstanding player for Scotland for a number of years," Scotland boss George Burley said of the 24-year-old. "At the same time he has established himself as a regular player for one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"Since I took over, his attitude towards playing for his country has been outstanding. He is a player who is always desperate to represent Scotland. It is a measure of his talent that at his relatively young age he has achieved so much for his club and country.

"I know he will be very proud to lead the players out and that he will do a great job for Scotland."

Burley's preparations have been hit by the loss of Kenny Miller, Kris Commons and Kevin Thomson to injury. Both Miller, who is a first-choice striker when fit, and Commons have hamstring problems while Rangers midfielder Thomson suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's 1-0 defeat by St Mirren.

The loss of Miller is the most serious blow to Burley's plans with the forward's club, Rangers, having decided that he should have an injection to treat a hamstring injury.

Another Rangers striker, Kris Boyd, is most likely to benefit from Miller's absence with Burley now set to go for a pairing of Boyd and James McFadden in attack.

Miller has been hampered by the hamstring problem since Scotland's 1-0 defeat by Macedonia in their opening qualifier.

Injury woes
Rangers boss Walter Smith explained: "It needed an injection and it means he has to rest for five or six days before he starts training again and hopefully that will settle the problem.

"From our own point of view it is something that had to be done but unfortunately it means he misses the Scotland game," he added.

Winger Commons has not played for his English club Derby since 13 September because of his injury.

Thomson had already ruled himself out after being helped off the pitch at Love Street following a controversial challenge by St Mirren midfielder Garry Brady.

"I've watched it a few times on TV now and it doesn't look very clever on his behalf," Thomson said. "He's turned his back and gone in with a straight leg and his studs showing. It looks as if he knew fine well what he was doing and that's what disappoints me most of all."

After their disappointing defeat in Macedonia, the Scots bounced back to win 2-1 in Iceland last month, leaving them joint top of group nine alongside Holland, who have played only one game so far.

Norway drew 2-2 at home to Iceland in their only match so far.