Hampden heroics won't guarantee me Scots call says Griffiths

Leigh Griffiths believes his '¨status as Scotland's first-choice striker is still uncertain despite his Hampden heroics against England in June.

Scotland's Leigh Griffiths trains at Mar Hall. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Scotland's Leigh Griffiths trains at Mar Hall. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

The Celtic front man is widely
expected to lead the line for his country again in tomorrow night’s must-win World Cup qualifier against Lithuania in Vilnius.

But Griffiths, who broke his scoring duck for Scotland with his stunning free-kick double in the 2-2 draw with England last time out, is making no assumptions about his place in manager Gordon Strachan’s plans.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Every game is a new game for me with Scotland,” said the 27-year-old. “Obviously the England game was a high. Everybody was on a high after it, especially myself. But it is a new game now. I need to look forward and try to work my way into the side for the Lithuania game. If the manager decides to go down a different route, I will be on the bench ready to come on and try to give him a lift.”

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Following Steven Fletcher’s withdrawal from the squad through injury, the only other strikers in Strachan’s squad are Chris Martin and Steven Naismith, who have both yet to score at club level this season for Derby County and 
Norwich City respectively.

It leaves Griffiths, who has netted five times already for Celtic, in pole position for the crucial Group F fixtures in Lithuania and then against Malta at Hampden next Monday night. He remains cautious, however. Griffiths said: “In international games 
you can’t take anything for granted.

“The manager is going to pick eleven players who he thinks can go and win that game. He has ten willing players on the bench who he can bring on and change things. I can’t take anything for granted. I scored two goals against England, but that’s gone now. I need to look forward.”

Griffiths hopes to be part of a sizeable Celtic contingent in the Scotland starting line-up, with clubmates Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong and James Forrest also in the squad. All six of the Scottish champions’ representatives played in the vital 1-0 win over Slovenia at Hampden in March, then all except Forrest faced England in June.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

“He could play us all again,” added Griffiths. “We are all playing well and playing with confidence, but that’s not my decision to make – that’s down to the manager.

“He won’t name his team until Friday morning so we will work hard in training and show him what he’s got.

“It worked well against Slovenia and, if it happens, we will try to replicate what we do with Celtic for the national team. If not, the players he does pick will be raring to go.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The match in Vilnius will be played on an artificial surface.