• News

Clarke explains why he omitted Griffiths from the Scotland squad

Getty Images

Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths was not called for the doubleheader against Russia and Belgium, as the national team manager decided to rest him.

Scotland national team manager Steve Clarke surprised everyone today when he announced his squad for next month and Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths was not on the list.

“I spoke to quite a few people about Leigh,” the Scotland manager told The Evening Times.

“Listen, everybody knows what Leigh’s good at. When he’s fit and firing and 100-per-cent he’s a big, big talent.”

“He’s come a long way in a short space of time after a really serious chapter in his life,” he added.

“Don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago he wasn’t even training, he wasn’t playing. He hasn’t got a lot of minutes in his legs this year – never mind this season.”

“And rather than put him under the pressure of bringing him into the squad, I’d rather give him a little bit more time to breathe to get fit at Celtic,” he commented.

“Also to get back to the level of sharpness that he needs to be a top player. I don’t think that he’s quite fully fit and firing in the way that he can do.”

“You could call him in regardless,” Clarke added.

“But then you’d be putting the boy under even more pressure. And maybe at this stage, he doesn’t need that.”