Celtic fans may have a wry smile on their face on Thursday evening as Oliver Burke starts up front for Scotland in their Euro 2020 qualifier away to Russia. Their smile may turn into some genuine laughter when they realise that Leigh Griffiths will be sitting in the house watching the game.
The Scottish Sun report that Celtic flop Burke will lead the line for Steve Clarke’s men in Moscow. Burke endeared himself to the Tartan Army in June when he scored the winner in Clarke’s first competitive game. However the very fact that he’s been chosen to play up front in a competitive match against illustrious opposition shows how far the national team has fallen.
Burke hasn’t netted a club goal since February when he was still playing for Celtic and Brendan Rodgers was still the manager. He’s started a few La Liga matches for new club Alaves but has failed to score yet as they sit just above the relegation places.
Griffiths has something to offer for both Celtic and Scotland
In contrast, Griffiths has barely featured for Celtic in recent months but still has three goals to his name. The 29-year-old is a far better all round player than Burke, and offers a better goalscoring threat from virtually every position.
Last month, the Scottish Sun reported that the Celtic forward was targeting a return for his country in tonight’s game. However, that chat has gone very quiet in recent weeks and Griffiths hasn’t played a single minute of football since August
It will be very interesting to see if the former Hibs man is brought back into the Celtic fold following the international break. Griffiths has been relegated to third choice striker behind Vakoun Issouf Bayo in recent weeks but there is an argument that he has more to offer at present.
Bayo has something about him but looks incredibly raw at this stage. Griffiths provides a reliable goal threat that his club and country could probably do with having.