LEIGH Griffiths believes his Scotland Under-21 career is at an end after being overlooked for a fourth time by coach Billy Stark.
The Hibs striker won his tenth cap as the young Scots stunned the Netherlands by winning a crunch European Championship match 2-1 in Nijmegen last November but was left out for the return game in February, Stark citing the striker’s then disciplinary record and his subsequent lack of game time due to suspension as the reasons.
Griffiths’ name was again missing when Stark revealed his squad for April’s glamour friendly against Italy at Easter Road. When asked the reasons behind that decision, Stark insisted he had not shut the door on the star, claiming he knew full well his capabilities and was taking the opportunity to cast an eye over Bolton Wanderers’ Michael O’Halloran and Alex McDonald of Plymouth Argyle.
However, Griffiths was left out once more the following month as the young Scots headed to Bulgaria for another crucial Euro qualifying match, and while Easter Road team-mates Paul Hanlon and David Wotherspoon – fixtures in Stark’s squads – have been named for next Tuesday’s friendly against Belgium at Falkirk, the on-loan Wolves star will be no more than a spectator.
Griffiths, who scored 11 goals for Hibs last season, admitted he’s bitterly disappointed to miss out yet again, particularly with Huddersfield Town’s Jordan Rhodes having been promoted to Craig Levein’s squad to face Australia at Easter Road the following night.
But, he insisted, he’d be delighted to answer the call should it come again although he fears that won’t happen. He said: “To be honest I feel my time with the Under-21s is basically over. Billy Stark has his squad and I wish him all the best, in fact, I’ll probably go along to watch the Belgian game. I thought I might be in with a chance with Jordan missing but there’s noting I can do about it other than keep my head down, concentrate on playing well and scoring goals for Hibs and, you never know, the chance might come again.”
Meanwhile, Hibs are staging an open training session at Easter Road tomorrow to allow fans to see Pat Fenlon’s stars prepare for Sunday’s derby against Hearts. The session, which begins at 2pm, is intended as part of the club’s bid to strengthen the bond between fans and players.
Fenlon said: “It’s something we’ve already spoken about with supporters, the need to
establish a stronger bond with our home crowd and the local area.”
After the work-out, which is intended to be a regular occurrence throughout the season, players will be available for
autographs and photographs