Gordon Strachan has defended his decision to name Leigh Griffiths in his Scotland squad to face Nigeria in London later this month although he conceded the striker would be a poor man if there was “a tax on stupidity”.
The Scotland manager brushed off the suggestion that an upcoming appointment at a disciplinary tribunal at Hampden Park just six days before the friendly clash at Craven Cottage might have persuaded him to leave Griffiths out of his plans on this occasion.
The Celtic striker is subject to two charges, one of which is for bringing the game into disrepute by “singing a song of an offensive, racist and/or discriminatory nature”. After Griffiths attended a Hearts v Hibs match in March, footage emerged of him singing a song that included reference to former Hearts striker Rudi Skacel being a “refugee”. The other charge relates to a song Griffiths, a boyhood Hibs fan, sang about the Tynecastle club “going bust”. He was fined by his club when this clip was first made public.
Strachan proposed that “we are all a bit sensitive in the world these days” after he was questioned about naming Griffiths in his squad. “Even Gary Barlow has taken a bit today,” he said, with reference to the Take That songwriter’s current tax difficulties. “He was meant to be a Sir last week, now they want him to send his OBE back. How ludicrous.
“I suppose if you could put a tax on stupidity then it might have cost him [Griffiths] a few bob. He would be a very poor man. I’ve no concerns. The fact is he enjoys playing football and he’s no problem to me. I’m glad it’s not retrospective because I used to go to Hibs games and sing silly songs as well when I was a kid.”
Strachan has also called up Derby County duo Chris Martin and Craig Forsyth.