Leigh Griffiths: Gary Caldwell wishes he sat out Scotland games like Celtic man

Gary Caldwell celebrates scoring for Scotland over France
Gary Caldwell won 55 Scotland caps, famously scoring in a win over France in 2006
Israel v Scotland. Uefa Nations League
Date: 11 Oct Time: 19:45 GMT Venue: Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa
Coverage: Listen to BBC Radio Scotland and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport Scotland website

Former Scotland captain Gary Caldwell wishes he had rested during some international windows, rather than play "at much less than 100% on many occasions".

Striker Leigh Griffiths withdrew from the squad to play Israel and Portugal on Monday "to focus on my fitness".

Caldwell, 36, never refused a Scotland call-up but now has "two new hips".

"Players need to be physically right to perform and Leigh knows his body best," the former defender told BBC Scotland.

"I turned up whether I was 100% or not and tried to give my best to help my country. If Leigh feels that way, I fully back that.

"He has to look after himself and get ready for Celtic and hopefully Scotland later in the year."

'The pressure is ridiculous'

Scotland head coach Alex McLeish came under fire after losing four of his first five games in charge - friendly defeats by Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico and Belgium.

However, the Scots delivered a commanding 2-0 win over Albania in their Nations League opener and Caldwell believes criticism of the national boss has "without doubt" been unfair.

"That's modern-day football management," said the former centre-back, who won 55 caps.

"Criticism comes very quickly when, in reality, he hasn't had a lot of time to work with his squad, to get to know players, to understand the different dynamics of the combinations he wants to use within the team.

"The pressure is ridiculous really. He wouldn't have felt that because he's experienced, but that's just the way the world is now.

"He's developing a good group of players that are now coming into the games that matter. Everyone understands we need to get results in these games.

"It's one of the brightest groups we've had in terms of young players coming through and the mix with some experienced players.

"The game against Albania was one of the best performances I've seen for a while in terms of the way we controlled the game, the energy we had, and we could have won it by more in the end."

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