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Knox hopes Scotland have fully-fit Griffiths firing for Euro 2020 play-offs

Leigh Griffiths can be the missing piece of the puzzle for Scotland, Knox says.
Leigh Griffiths can be the missing piece of the puzzle for Scotland, Knox says.

Former Scotland assistant manager Archie Knox hopes Leigh Griffiths can regain his place in the Celtic team, and his striking form, in time to fire Scotland to the finals of the 2020 European championships.

Scotland are two games away from securing their place in next summer’s finals as they prepare to host Israel in the Uefa Nations play-off semi-final at Hampden in March. The winners will travel to face the winners of the other semi-final between Norway and Serbia.

Knox, who was assistant manager in 2004-05, hopes to see Griffiths fill the much-needed striker berth in time for the crucial games.

The mercurial forward’s appearances for the Hoops have been sporadic due to personal issues.

But Knox said: “Leigh Griffiths needs to get back playing for his club first but hopefully he can do that then push back into the Scotland squad. We are short in that department, there’s no doubt about it but the midfielders like John McGinn and Ryan Christie have done well.

“I like Callum McGregor as well while McGinn has been on a great run of late and having a great season for Aston Villa and long may that continue.

“He’s looking really confident and I didn’t think he was that kind of player who would get forward and score a goal to be honest. But we could do with someone breaking through from somewhere as a proper centre forward.

“That would make all the difference for these games coming up and the chance of some big occasions to look forward to next summer.”

Archie Knox, right, was among the Gothenburg Greats to open Cruyff Court Neale Cooper in Torry yesterday.<br />Picture by Colin Rennie

The 72-year-old hopes Scotland can emulate the success of fellow home nations underdogs Wales in securing their place in the finals but believes Steve Clarke will need his best side available for the crucial matches.

He said: “We’ve won the last three games now and hopefully with some players back available for the play-offs in March we should get there. It’s a decent draw.

“The only thing is the likes of Andy Robertson is likely to still be involved in the Champions League around then and we don’t know if Celtic and Rangers will still be in the Europa League.

“You never know if everyone will be fit coming into that time of the season as the top players will have played a lot of games.

“But it will be great if we can do and when you see Wales qualifying direct it has been terrific for them.

“They do have the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in their squad.

“We used to have a number of really big players like that.

“At this moment in time we don’t really have that so we are hoping someone will hit a run of form and come through.”

Knox was speaking at the opening of the Cruyff Court Neale Cooper in Torry, Aberdeen,

The site is a joint initiative between Aberdeen City Council, the Cruyff Foundation and the Denis Law Legacy Trust.

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