Leigh Griffiths wasn’t willing to go deep into the prospect of an international return with Scotland, as he flat out placed Celtic at the top of his priority list.
Steve Clarke’s Scots face a mammoth Euro 2020 playoff final in Serbia next month, with the nation just one win from reaching it’s first major international tournament in 22 years.
Griffiths has yet to play single minute of action under Clarke, who has struggled to find a solution to the country’s number nine problem. Only Lyndon Dykes has showed any sort of promise, with the likes of Oliver McBurnie, Oli Burke, Steven Fletcher, and Steven Naismith all failing to seize the spot for themselves.
However, even though Griffiths remains Scotland’s most talented centre-forward, he wasn’t keen on delving into the subject at his press conference yesterday. Instead, he admitted that his thoughts remain solely on making an impact at Parkhead.
Speaking at his presser published by Celtic TV, Griff stated: “Serbia is the last thing on my mind to be honest. I just want to get back into Celtic’s starting XI and make sure I’m playing well.
“If I get the call-up then great, but if not then I wish the boys all the best.
“I feel good. I’m coming into training, working hard every day and trying to get my fitness levels up to the maximum that I can. I’m trying to put pressure on the gaffer (Neil Lennon) to play me in these games.”
Griffiths is so clearly Scotland’s answer
This is class from Griffiths. Deep down there’ll clearly be an itch there to get into Clarke’s squad and make himself the man who ended his nation’s major tournament drought.
However, the Celtic striker does well not to show it. And it’s even more impressive considering he almost certainly knows that he’s the most talented striker Clarke could actually pick.
There was something humorous about Clarke’s comments earlier this month when asked about Griffiths. After beating both Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the Scotland boss deflected the question and used his comments as a general statement to anyone not involved.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, the Scotland boss said: “If they want to be involved with Scotland, and the squad selection next month, then they have to be on the pitch. They have to be fit and have to be firing. They have to put themselves right to the front of my thoughts.”
The way Clarke replied made it sound as though Griffiths should consider himself lucky to get into his brand of elite talent. But the truth is he should be crying out for Griffiths’ talent. He needs it desperately, and the Celtic striker could be the key to KO’ing Serbia on their own patch. He’s the only striker Scotland has that has scored against elite sides such as England.
If the Scotland boss truly thinks that Dykes and McBurnie are the answer, then the international drought will almost certainly continue.