Leigh Griffiths: Celtic striker 'not in huff' after Scotland withdrawal, says coach Peter Grant

Leigh Griffiths in action
Leigh Griffiths will not add to his 19 caps during the October internationals
Nations League League C, Group 1: Israel v Scotland
Venue: Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa Date: Thursday, 11 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Scotland coach Peter Grant insists there's "no issue" between manager Alex McLeish and Leigh Griffiths after the striker pulled out of his latest squad.

Griffiths withdrew from the squad, preparing to face Israel and Portugal, saying "I need to focus on my fitness".

He described being dropped to the bench against Albania last month as a "kick in the teeth".

But Grant says: "He's definitely not in the huff. There's 100% not an issue. He's just being honest."

Griffiths, who has scored four international goals in 19 appearances, started Celtic's 6-0 thrashing of St Johnstone on Sunday but was replaced by Scott Sinclair after 61 minutes of the Scottish Premiership game in Perth.

"He's had a great conversation with the manager, who he has spoken with at length," added Grant.

Alex McLeish
Alex McLeish at Scotland training on Monday

"Leigh has had his critics, but Alex has never been a critic. He knows what he can do and he knows he's an unbelievable finisher."

Griffiths stressed he hopes to return to the international set-up if he is chosen.

"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," he said.

"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 my decision. It's not one that I've made lightly.

"My aim is to be back to my best and be available for selection for club and country."

Griffiths started last month's friendly defeat by Belgium but was taken off at half-time with a calf problem.

Hearts' Steven Naismith impressed after the break and was preferred as a starter for the opening Nations League win against Albania.

Two days later Griffiths liked a tweet from a supporter who criticised McLeish using language that some may find offensive.

Celtic were approached for comment.

Leigh Griffiths tweet screenshot
The tweet was posted and liked on 12 September, two days after Scotland v Albania

Naismith, Swansea City's Oli McBurnie and Sporting Kansas City's Johnny Russell are the remaining forwards in McLeish's squad for Thursday's Nations League trip to Israel and Sunday's friendly against Portugal.

Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur has made himself unavailable for Scotland duty until the new year as he attempts to manage a back injury.

Revised Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Celtic), Allan McGregor (Rangers), Jon McLaughlin (Sunderland).

Defenders: Jack Hendry (Celtic), Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Stephen O'Donnell (Kilmarnock), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen), John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian), Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Kevin McDonald (Fulham), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Robert Snodgrass (West Ham United).

Forwards: Oliver McBurnie (Swansea), Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian), Johnny Russell (Sporting Kansas City).

My Scotland team to face Israel

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport