Leigh Griffiths pulls out of Scotland squad for Israel and Portugal games
Scotland play Israel on Thursday and Portugal on October 14 - both matches are live on Sky Sports Football
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 08/10/18 3:20pm
Leigh Griffiths has withdrawn from the Scotland squad to face Israel and Portugal to work on his fitness.
The Celtic striker was named in manager Alex McLeish's squad last week but has now pulled out, although he stressed he is keen to put himself forward for selection again in the future.
"I feel that I need to focus on my fitness over this international period and get back into the best possible shape," he said in a statement.
"I had a good discussion with the manager to explain my decision. It's not one that I've made lightly. 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.
"My aim is to be back to my best and be available for section for club and country."
Assistant manager Peter Grant insisted Griffiths' decision had nothing to do with McLeish leaving him out of the starting XI for Scotland's opening Nations League match against Albania.
"Absolutely not," he replied when the suggestion was put to him. "To be fair to the kid he's been honest. Alex had a great conversation with him and we're very pleased with the way things sit.
"We have spoken to Celtic and we understand the player, there is no problem whatsoever. It's definitely not a huff. That was always our concern, that that's the way it was going to come out.
"The player has explained the situation and we are very, very happy with that. Alex has spoken to Leigh at length and we are very, very comfortable, as the player is."
Grant also offered Griffiths reassurance that he would be considered for future squads, explaining: "We feel it's very, very important for him that he feels good in his own skin, and we support him 100 per cent and he will definitely be part of Scotland in the future, that's for sure."
John McGinn and Scott McTominay have both reported to the Scotland camp with knocks - ankle and knee respectively - but are expected to be fit for the Nations League match against Israel and the friendly with Portugal.
Scotland vs Portugal
October 14, 2018, 4:30pm
Scotland squad to face Israel and Portugal:
Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon, Allan McGregor, Jon McLaughlin
Defenders: Jack Hendry, Scott McKenna, Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen O'Donnell, Andy Robertson, Graeme Shinnie, John Souttar, Kieran Tierney.
Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong, James Forrest, Ryan Fraser, Kevin McDonald, John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Scott McTominay, Robert Snodgrass.
Forwards: Oli McBurnie, Steven Naismith, Johnny Russell.