STRIKER Leigh Griffiths has admitted he is desperate to lead the Scotland attack against Belgium at Hampden on Friday – so he can finally sample the experience of a full home international.
All three of Griffiths’ Scotland appearances so far have been away from home – against Luxembourg, Croatia and England.
With Kenny Miller having retired and Steven Fletcher not yet ready for an international return after injury, the stage looks set for in-form Wolves forward Griffiths to lead the attack against Belgium.
He said: “We have got two good qualifiers coming up now against Belgium and Macedonia.
“I haven’t played for Scotland at Hampden yet so hopefully I can get involved against a top-class Belgian side.
While Miller was destined never to play at a major finals for Scotland, Griffiths said: “I enjoyed watching him and he ended on a high by scoring against England. But there are still a lot of good strikers in the squad and if I’m not picked then hopefully I can get on off the bench.”
Griffiths, who finished top goalscorer for Hibs last season during his loan spell and scooped a string of player of the year awards after his prolific season with Pat Fenlon’s side, is on a high after scoring his fourth goal in six games for Wolves in the weekend’s 3-1 win at Port Vale.
Having signed new two-year contract at Molineux, Griffiths has already become a new hero for the Wolves fans as the club look to climb back up to the Championship after back-to-back relegations – both of which occurred while the Scot was out on loan to Hibs.
He is relishing life under the guidance of new manager Kenny Jackett and said: “This manager knows how to get out of the division. He has done it before and hopefully we can do it first time.”
Meanwhile, Griffiths’ fellow Scotland striker Ross McCormack admits Miller’s retirement has not made it any easier for him to break into Gordon Strachan’s team.
The Leeds United frontman has been recalled to the squad for the World Cup qualifying double-header.
The 27-year-old has not played for Scotland since winning his eighth cap and scoring in the friendly victory over Australia last August.
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Miller’s decision to bow out of the international arena has left the door open for an attacker to stake his claim for a regular berth.
But with Griffiths, Jordan Rhodes, Shaun Maloney and Jamie Mackie named as the other forwards, McCormack knows he has his work cut out.
McCormack, who watched from afar as Scotland upset Croatia with a win June before narrowly losing to England last month, said: “The boys that have been playing have done really well, especially against Croatia and England. I’m just glad to be involved and be in and around the group. I thought those performances were fantastic. I watched both the Croatia and the England games.
“Against England we played really good football and got to them; against Croatia we stuck to the game plan and the boys did that really well.”
McCormack, who has been the subject of failed bids by Middlesbrough, has started the season in a rich vein of form by netting four goals in seven appearances for Leeds. He added: “The first training session was good and really enjoyable. It was good to see the lads again. We did some little patterns of play and had a little game too, so it was good.
While Friday’s game, like the win over Croatia, is meaningless to Scotland from a qualification point of view, McCormack says Gordon Strachan has the squad in a positive frame of mind.
“Gordon’s so bubbly,” he said. “We know Belgium are world class, their players are playing at the best clubs all over the world, so it’s going to be a tough one.But the boys that have been playing have done well recently so it will be an interesting game on Friday.”