Pundit and former Celtic player Davie Provan has questioned Steve Clarke’s decision not to include Leigh Griffiths in his most recent international squad, The Scottish Sun report.

Griffiths was a curious absentee when Clarke announced the 24-man group at the end of last month.

The Scotland boss justified it at the time by telling reporters he felt it was just ‘a little bit too early’ to push the striker after his return to football this summer.


Provan though doesn’t understand why others such as Steven Naismith were included ahead of him, feeling Griffiths could have made an impact in the country’s recent 2-1 defeat to Russia.

As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the Sky Sports man said: “The omission of Griffiths made no sense.

“Clarke said he was giving Griff time to get back up to speed — but he picked Steven Naismith, who has played less football this season than the Celtic striker.

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“And when Scotland got that late free-kick on the edge of the box against Russia, was there anyone who wouldn’t have wanted Griffiths over the ball?”

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Should Griffiths have been included?

The important thing to remember with the Hoops striker is that he’s had to deal with a lot over the last 12 months.

His return to Celtic action wasn’t a decision taken lightly and his return to the Scotland national team shouldn’t be either.

Clarke’s decision to omit Griffiths was likely made in good faith, for the benefit of the player, who as we know is not quite at full fitness.

It’s also not strictly a physical decision, there are pressures and a limelight on the national team that perhaps the 28-year-old doesn’t need right now. He is still working hard to prove himself at Celtic and the distraction of Scotland action may have been to his detriment.

There’s no doubt that ability wise Griffiths is far ahead of Naismith, but the time will come when he’s back to his best and that’ll likely be when Clarke turns to the player.

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