Scotland hope to see 'best' of Tom Cairney, says Peter Grant

Tom Cairney playing for Fulham against Tottenham
Tom Cairney is now a Premier League player with promoted Fulham

Assistant coach Peter Grant hopes Scotland can "see the best" of Tom Cairney in next month's internationals.

The 27-year-old Fulham midfielder, who has two caps, is back in the Scotland squad after missing the summer friendly games against Peru and Mexico.

Belgium come to Hampden for a friendly on 7 September before Albania visit in the Uefa Nations League.

"The biggest skill he's got is the fact that he's comfortable in possession of the ball," Grant said.

"You need people running by Tom so he can step in and get on possession of the ball, so we've got to build a team round about the fact it helps these guys perform at their best.

"He's very much a creator of opportunities, but he's also a goalscorer. Hopefully, we can see the best of him."

Cairney joined Fulham from Blackburn Rovers shortly before Grant had a spell as caretaker manager with the London club.

He and fellow midfielder Kevin McDonald, who is also in the Scotland squad, are now operating in England's top flight after promotion last season and Grant pointed out that Cairney has been a creative force in Fulham's goals this season.

"The great thing is he's playing at the highest level nowadays - playing against the top players week in, week out, top international players week in, week out, and that can only make you think better," Grant said.

"He's training with a group of players now at Fulham that is much stronger than it was last year. They've spent £104m, so all of a sudden you're playing against better players in training."

Leigh Griffiths is one of four forwards selected by national boss Alex McLeish, but the Celtic striker has only scored four goals so far in 2018, having been injured earlier in the year.

The 28-year-old, who has four international goals in 17 appearances, played most of Celtic's weekend defeat of Hamilton Academical and Grant said: "We know he gets in the right areas in the football pitch.

"When he plays, he scores and that's very important. There's that game sharpness, of course. That's a concern for everybody.

"If a chance falls to him in the box, I don't care how unfit he is, he'll put it in the back of the net, but we have to create those chances, we have to get other bodies in the box.

"Alex has said since he's taken over he wants the team to play that way - on the front foot, be enthusiastic, get forward, play with a drive and a determination, show guts, show a freedom to express yourself.

"We've got creators and we know we've got guys that can take chances."

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport