Hat-trick hero Griffiths gets late Scotland call

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths has been called up to the Scotland squad. Picture: SNS
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths has been called up to the Scotland squad. Picture: SNS
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CELTIC striker Leigh Griffiths was last night called up to the Scotland squad for Wednesday’s friendly with Poland after national manager Gordon Strachan was at Celtic Park to watch the striker net his first hat-trick for the club in the 5-0 demolition of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Griffiths, who joined Celtic in an £850,000 move from Wolverhampton Wanderers a month ago, will be added to the pool for the Warsaw confrontation as Strachan prepares to do without Robert Snodgrass. Norwich City manager Chris Hughton has asked that the attacker be excused international duty because of a recurring muscle injury though that will not keep him out of the encounter with Aston Villa this afternoon.

Griffiths was delighted with his Scotland inclusion, believing his efforts in recent weeks – with four goals in his last two games – have negated the reasons given by Strachan for his original omission. “In getting the call I’m absolutely buzzing to go,” said the four-time capped player. “I think he [Strachan] made comments about me not being in the squad because I wasn’t playing for Wolves in the last month and half or so and he wanted me to have time to settle in here. I have done that kind of quick so like I say I am happy.”

Meanwhile, Scotland expect to confirm this week that they will play a friendly against Nigeria in London. Fulham’s Craven Cottage is the proposed venue for the match on Wednesday, 28 May, and the game will be preceded by a five-day training camp in the English capital. The thinking behind it, apparently, is that Strachan would prefer to take a game in the UK than accept one of the offers he has had for matches abroad that would involve long-haul flights. Scotland’s only previous international against Nigeria was a 2-1 defeat at Pittodrie in 2002 during Berti Vogts’ reign.