Former Scotland midfielder Michael Stewart revealed that Leigh Griffiths was “absolutely hammered” after the Belgium game by the Scotland management staff.
Speaking on BBC Sportsound the ex-Hearts and Hibs player was discussing the Celtic striker’s decision to pull out of the Scotland squad for the Uefa Nations League clash with Israel and friendly with Portugal.
Griffiths said he wanted to focus on his fitness during the international break, a reason which was criticised by former Celtic striker Scott McDonald.
He queried: “What’s he going to do the next two weeks at Lennonxtown when everyone else is away on international duty, do fat burners?
“The majority of that squad is away so it leaves you with minimal to train with. As a top player playing at the elite level you want to go and play against the elite, there’s a big game coming for Scotland.
“He’s not happy, obviously. But whether or not it is a club issue as well, maybe Brendan (Rodgers) wants him to stay as well. Get his mind focused, get him back to his best. Maybe it is a conversation Celtic and Scotland have had. For me I think you always want to go and play for your national team.”
Stewart believes the issue goes back to the previous international break where the player struggled against Belgium up front on his own but it didn’t stop the staff from chastising his performance.
The pundit, who believes Griffiths has “got to be the No.1 striker” for Scotland, judged boss Alex McLeish for his handling of the situation when he revealed earlier this month that the player had not answered his calls.
“I think quite clearly he (Griffiths) wasn’t happy with what happened the last international break,” Stewart said.
“See the comments Alex then came out with afterwards, about he tried to phone Leigh and he didn’t answer his phone that’s got to stay private.
“There’s absolutely no benefit of that coming out into the public and that just exacerbates what Leigh Griffiths was clearly feeling before. There is fault with both here.
“This just sounds so reminiscent of Steven Fletcher. It was off the back of 4-6-0, no strikers, unhappy at not playing and it grows arms and legs. It becomes entrenched, this big divide between the two.
“This is clearly off the back of the Belgium game where I’m led to believe Leigh Griffiths got absolutely hammered in the changing room after the game or at half-time by the staff.”