Clarke explains Griffiths omission

Scotland

Scotland boss Steve Clarke says Leigh Griffiths remains firmly in his plans but he felt it was too early to include the Celtic striker in his latest squad.

Griffiths has managed three goals in eight appearances for Celtic this season, including two in three Premiership games, but has missed out on Clarke’s squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belgium and Russia.

Clarke has instead selected Steven Naismith, Oli McBurnie, Johnny Russell and Matt Phillips as his attacking options.

The Scotland manager says Griffiths has a role to play for the national side going forward but he felt it was too early to hand the striker an international recall after a spell away from the game due to mental health issues.

“[Griffiths] was close,” Clarke said. “Leigh has got some fantastic attributes. I just look at him just now and he’s come a long way in a short space of time after a very difficult spell in his life.

“And I feel we should just give him a little more time to settle into the role again at Celtic and get himself fully fit and firing. And a fully fit and firing, sharp Leigh Griffiths will always be good for us.

“But at the moment I just feel it’s a little bit too early to push him.”

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