Leigh Griffiths insists he’s still fully committed to playing for Scotland and has not “taken the huff” with manager Alex McLeish.
The Celtic striker pulled out of the squad on Monday, citing his fitness as a concern as he seeks to get back to his best for both club and country.
Having described being dropped from the starting XI as a “kick in the teeth” for last month’s UEFA Nations League match with Albania, many wondered whether Griffiths was acting out against the national team manager.
However, Griffiths insists his decision was reached after speaking with McLeish and his club manager Brendan Rodgers.
He told the Scottish Sun: “Playing for Scotland still means the world to me.
“I’m hugely patriotic and passionate about representing my country.
“Despite what some people will think, I have not taken the huff about potentially sitting on the bench over in Israel.
“Anyone who knows me will say I’m all about the team and it’s never about individuals.
“Sure, it was disappointing to be on the bench for the Albania game at Hampden — everyone could see how I was feeling on the night.
“But that’s football and I’m big enough to be able to take decisions like that on the chin. I’m not too big to sit on any bench.
“The fact is I need to be fully fit to be able to play to my best for club and country and right now I don’t think that’s the case.
“I spoke to both managers of Scotland and Celtic and they supported my decision.”