Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ball in Leigh’s court says Scotland boss McLeish

Scotland manager Alex McLeish
Scotland manager Alex McLeish

Scotland manager Alex McLeish insists there is no guarantee striker Leigh Griffiths will regain his place in his squad after his withdrawal from the squad to face Israel and Portugal.

Celtic attacker Griffiths informed McLeish of his decision in a phone call over the weekend, claiming he wanted to use the international break to work on his fitness.

The 28-year-old was left out of the starting line-up for the last UEFA Nations League match against Albania in September, with his replacement, Steven Naismith, scoring one goal and setting up the other in the 2-0 victory at Hampden Park.

McLeish revealed last week Griffiths had not responded to his attempts to discuss the matter and says the player’s decision has given Naismith and other attackers the opportunity to stake their claim.

He said: “There are no guarantees. He knows that. That is how I left it. It is his personal decision. It is up to Leigh what happens in the future.

“I had a conversation with him. He feels he has got to work on his fitness. He pulled himself out.

“He wants to be honest with himself and about the situation. We are happy that there are no other call-offs. We go forward.

“We are looking for top performances from the guys that we have. Everybody here wants to play for Scotland in these games.

“If we can get positive results then it just increases the confidence levels and empowers the players.”

McLeish is confident Griffiths’ decision is not a negative reaction to being dropped last time out, adding: “There’s not a problem with that. I understand a reaction at a particular time, but he didn’t carry it forward. I said at the time that he replied by scoring three goals in quick succession for Celtic. That was a good reaction to the whole thing. There is not a problem.

“I had a good conversation with Leigh on Saturday. I said ‘Okay, there are obviously no guarantees, but you feel you have got to get yourself fit’. That is down to his mentality. He is determined to do it. Let’s see what happens.”

Explaining the thinking behind his decision, Griffiths said: “It means a lot to me to play for Scotland and I hope to be part of Alex’s plans again in future, if selected.

“I feel that I need to focus on my fitness over this international period and get back into the best possible shape. I had a good discussion with the manager to explain. It’s not one that I’ve made lightly.

“My aim is to be back to my best and be available for section for club and country.”

McGinn’s change of focus – P58, 59

Already a subscriber? Sign in