Strachan gives Griffiths Leigh way on Scotland call

LEIGH GRIFFITHS will not be frozen out of Scotland's end-of-season friendly against Nigeria...

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Strachan will judge Leigh Griffiths on his form for Celtic
Strachan will judge Leigh Griffiths on his form for Celtic

Even though, a week earlier, the Celtic striker is up before an SFA hearing to answer a charge of alleged racist singing.

Griffiths' case has been postponed until May 22 at the request of his solicitor, to allow police inquiries into the incident in an Edinburgh pub on March 30 to be concluded.

If found guilty, the 23-year-old faces a lengthy suspension.

But, while Scotland boss Gordon Strachan has been monitoring developments, he insists he will not drop Griffiths, unless his form merits it.

Strachan considers it is a club matter and will judge Griffiths solely on his behaviour while on international duty.

He will announce his squad for the May 28 match against Nigeria at Craven Cottage next week and said: "Leigh will still be in contention for this game.

"His disciplinary situation will not come into play at all when I select my squad. I have spoken to him since this matter became known, and he is fine.

"Whether he plays or not will be down to his ability."

The four-times-capped striker had been disappointed to miss the late-autumn internationals against the USA and Norway, with Kris Boyd called up ahead of him after a clutch of attacking players dropped out.

But Strachan explained Griffiths was omitted as he was not playing regularly for Wolves.

And he brought him back into the fold for the friendly in Poland last month after he had hit the ground running at Celtic following his move from Wolves in January.

Strachan will assess the condition of all the players in contention, paying special attention to the men whose club season will have concluded several weeks before the game against World Cup-bound Nigeria, Efe Ambrose et al.

He said: "We have had a look at the situation with players who might have finished their club season well before we play this game.

"We thought it might have been a problem last year, when we played Croatia in Zagreb in our World Cup qualifier at the start of June.

"But, they all looked after themselves well, and were in good condition to play that game. I'm sure it will be the same this time."

Strachan has led Scotland to 22nd in the Fifa rankings with results like the 1-0 win in Warsaw, and is eager to maintain momentum ahead of the start of the Euro 2016 qualifiers in September.

He added: "There are a lot of players playing well at the moment, players that make you think, 'Where did he come from?'.

"We're hoping to look at some of those lads. I'm trying to build a group of maybe 35-40 players who I know can play to the system, who I know I can trust, who I know will be good with the squad and who will put Scotland first and not themselves.

"That's what I want."

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