Leigh Griffiths shows he fed up of being an international afterthought

By David Walton

October 8, 2018

Leigh Griffiths’ international future is in real doubt after he pulled out of Scotland’s latest squad. It’s clear, however, that the Celtic star is fed up of being an international afterthought.

Despite being Scotland’s main talismanic figure, he’s had to deal with ridiculous suggestions of being second-choice. Steven Naismith’s world-class double against Albania, where one was an own goal, has shot him to the front of the line.

Forget about Griffiths’ goals against England. Forget about him continuously saving Celtic over these last few weeks. Naismith has bagged a couple of goals finally and is therefore Scotland’s number one. No wonder the Celtic striker has dropped out.

Leigh Griffiths has bailed out Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic in recent weeks (Michael Molzar/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

Details of why he has decided to leave the squad are sketchy to say the least. The Hoops forward stated that he’s staying out to try and focus on his fitness. With all due respect to Griff, his fitness has been fine enough to play in Celtic’s last six matches. He could very easily have played against Israel and/or Portugal.

The situation must be serious

With Scotland just a win in Israel away from having a real chance at Euro 2020 qualification, this has to be serious. The Celtic forward had talks with Alex McLeish, and it’s easy to imagine what’s been said behind those doors.

Has McLeish told Griffiths he wouldn’t be playing against the Israelis? It would certainly explain why he isn’t interested in sticking around for the matches. He explained last month how not being picked ahead of Naismith was a “real kick in the teeth”. Rightfully so considering his track record with Scotland.

Griffiths watched Steven Naismith rattle in a double against Albania (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Granted, nobody can ever be guaranteed a spot in an international-level squad. Griffiths, however, has every right to look at the man picked ahead of him and raise an eyebrow. This is the same Naismith who did nothing at Ibrox last week. The same Naismith who has only scored one goal in his last four.

Griffiths, at the end of the day, is a far superior player to the Hearts striker. He always has been and probably always will be from here on in. McLeish has been coy about admitting that Griffiths is his number one, and maybe he just isn’t.

In any case, from the outside looking in, Celtic’s goal machine seems to have had enough of being an afterthought.