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Grant: Griffiths' withdrawal is definitely 'not a huff'

The Scotland coach says he's entirely confident the Celtic striker will return.

Scotland assistant coach Peter Grant has insisted that Leigh Griffiths' decision to leave the national team squad is down to fitness and not a falling out with the manager.

Griffiths withdrew from the squad to face Israel in the Nations League and Portugal in a friendly, saying that he wanted to work on regaining full fitness.

The striker, who has four goals from 19 international appearances, had expressed his unhappiness with Alex McLeish after the Scotland manager indicated that Steven Naismith was in pole position to start against Israel after scoring against Albania in the last international. McLeish denied any rift with the player, and said he hadn't decided on his starting striker.

Speaking after Griffiths' withdrawal, Grant shot down any talk of a clash, stating that the fitness issue was the only reason for the player pulling out of the squad.

"Absolutely not," he said. "We were aware of the situation with Leigh.

"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've spoken to Celtic and we understand the player. There's no problems whatsoever.

"It's certainly not a huff. We understand that's the way it was going to come out after the [Albania] game. The player has explained the situation and we're very happy with that. Alex has spoken to Leigh at length and we're very comfortable, as the player is."

Asked why Griffiths was fit to play for his club but not his country, Grant said that the player felt he had to work to what he felt was his best condition.

"I think if you see the criticism he's getting about what he looks like and what he doesn't look like at times, then I think sometimes in your mind you start listening to that and start reading it," he said. "If the player feels uncomfortable at that moment in time and feels he's not in the right straight mind to go and perform at the highest level and that's down to fitness or whatever then fantastic.

"Some players just go through it and get on with it but if you feel you've got an issue then you've got to deal with it.

"He's doing the right thing. If he feels he is where he is then we would rather he did that than come away moping about and feeling sorry for himself.

"We think it's very important for him that he feels good in his own skin and we support him 100% and he'll be part of Scotland in the future, that's for sure."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1431688-griffiths-pulls-out-of-scotland-squad-to-focus-on-fitness/ | default

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