Steven may be off-limits to the Scotland manager – in more ways than one – but the news that Darren made an 11-minute cameo for Manchester United in a Champions League win over Galatasaray will have provoked a smile from a coach who recently has just seemed provoked.
It was the Scotland midfielder's first competitive appearance since November and the ovation he received at Old Trafford on Wednesday night will have echoed in Hampden.
The chronic bowel condition with which Fletcher had been diagnosed shortly after that last outing against Benfica threatened not only his capacity to play for the rest of that season but at all; the career of a player who once formed half of Berti Vogts' "cheeky boys" at risk of coming to a premature conclusion. Yet, just as the 28-year-old has shaken that somewhat inapt moniker with a series of accomplished performances, he has now served notice that he is ready to leave this miserable stage of his career behind.
The nature of ulcerative colitis means he will never be rid of the condition, but he cut a healthy figure at Old Trafford; his weight having returned, if not all of his sharpness. Outings in United's reserves and another cameo in Neil Simpson's testimonial match in Aberdeen earlier this season have not been enough to restore all of his footballing faculties, but there was no hiding his appetite to compete.
That had already been expressed by Fletcher's insistence that he be given some part in proceedings at Pittodrie last month, a request which surprised Sir Alex Ferguson. The United manager was only too happy to oblige his midfielder with a moment all of his own on Wednesday. "That [the crowd's ovation] was a mark of respect to a really honest and tremendous young lad," said Ferguson.
The question now is whether Fletcher can become the standard-bearer in his country's flagging World Cup qualifying campaign, with matches away to Wales and Belgium next up. Scotland's bid to reach Brazil seems to have foundered after taking just two points from this month's Hampden double-header, but the return of their captain would imbue fans with renewed vigour and the squad with hope, many of whom – privately, at least – must be acutely aware of the challenge they have left themselves with.
Levein could do with the good press it would generate, too. His refusal to make up with Steven Fletcher has elevated the £12m-striker's international credentials to that of a nonpareil but that would be appeased somewhat by the sight of Darren Fletcher draped in the dark blue jersey which his near-namesake once rebuffed.
The manager would also do well to exploit the perception of his captain from outwith the dressing room. A patriotic and clever individual, Fletcher will have his own views on the impasse between Scotland's manager and his country's most proficient striker, but publically he has always spoken respectfully and in support of whichever coach has led the national team.
The midfielder is also viewed as the model patriot; Fletcher has always made himself available for his country – save for an instance of injury or illness – and it is unthinkable to imagine him sending a text message to say he doesn't fancy it anymore. Here is a Fletcher that Levein will be only too happy to talk about, a player who is not only popular with fans but one who has readily detailed his desire to play for both the coach and his country. "I'm hopeful and really positive that I'll be back and back to my best," Fletcher has said.
His progress will be measured, but both Scotland and Levein will have their fingers crossed that he does.