Griffiths: Experience is key

Date published: Wednesday 20th May 2015 4:41

The former Hibs star, who was named in Gordon Strachan’s party for the upcoming double-header against Qatar and Republic of Ireland, has not figured on the national scene since September 2013.

Griffiths has scored 16 goals in his last 20 matches after convincing Hoops boss Ronny Deila he was the man to lead the line as they captured their fourth successive Scottish top-flight title.

“I think a lot of my link-up play has improved,” he said. “Last year I was playing up front with Anthony Stokes with Kris Commons just in behind us. Obviously I was going in behind and Kris and Stokesy like to get the ball to feet.

“This year with playing one up front, you have got to hold the ball up a lot more and make a lot of unselfish runs. That’s the kind of thing you need to do for Scotland as well.

“We played the same formation away to Croatia and I led the line for an hour there, and in a crucial qualifier at home to Belgium. So I think the manager knows I can play that position.

“Maybe I was a little bit inexperienced on the international stage when I did that, but since coming here I have got a lot more experience playing in the Europa League.

“It’s kind of the same formation with Scotland as we do here, a 4-2-3-1. I have managed to play that role on a regular basis since the turn of the year, I have done it against Inter Milan. So if the manager is ready to throw me in, I’ll be ready.”

‘Trouble’

Griffiths also feels he is a more mature person off the park, having spoken in recent weeks of “cleaning up his act”, and he knows that impressing Strachan is vital.

“When he has spoken about me before, I have never been any trouble around training or the squad,” said Griffiths, who started in Scotland’s 1-0 win in Croatia in June 2013, a result viewed as the turning point in their recent improvement.

“I am always making the boys laugh and training well. I have started two qualifiers before so I am hoping to make it a third.”

Griffiths will first get the chance to revel in his recent club success when Celtic are handed the Scottish Premiership trophy following their final match of the season against Inverness on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 3.

“It will be good to get everyone to Parkhead and show off the trophy,” he added. “Last year the league was basically won by the time I joined but this year I have had a more important role to play, especially since the turn of the year.” 

Scotland take on Qatar in a friendly at Easter Road on June 5 before facing Republic of Ireland in their vital European Qualifier at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, eight days later.

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