Leigh GRIFFITHS today claimed that even if he becomes the first Hibs player in 40 years to score 30 goals in a season he won’t be guaranteed a place in Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad for next month’s World Cup qualifying match against Croatia
The 22-year-old, who won his first full cap in a friendly with Luxembourg last November, has been widely tipped to be given the nod by Strachan for the game in Zagreb given his goal-scoring exploits, his sensational derby-day strike against Hearts taking his tally for the season to 28.
In doing so Griffiths equalled Steve Cowan’s record of 1986 but now he has eyes on emulating a feat last achieved by Alan Gordon and Jimmy O’Rourke in 1973. But even if he manages to do so in Hibs last three games of the season, Griffiths insisted he was taking nothing for granted.
As he picked up his latest award, the Clydesdale Bank Premier League Player of the Year gong, the on-loan Wolves hitman said: “The Scotland game is still three or four weeks away and I have two massive games and then an even bigger cup final to go.
“If I am in the squad I would be absolutely delighted. It would cap the season. But I am not expecting to be in it because there are a lot of good strikers in the squad already. It’s up to Mr Stracahn. If he wants to pick me or not. I wouldn’t be too
disappointed if I’m not in it, If I am, I will be delighted.”
Griffiths has continued to hit the goal trail despite the intense speculation which surrounds his future, with former Wolves boss Dean Saunders revealing he intended to invoke a clause in the former Livingston and Dundee star’s contract to have him play at Molineux next season following two years on loan at Easter Road.
Saunders, however, has since been sacked and although he headed to the Midlands for talks last week, Griffiths admitted he remained in limbo.
He said: “I spoke to the football director [Kevin Thelwell] who said they wanted me back down for pre-season, so I have to see what happens after the Scottish Cup final, whether Hibs and Wolves can come to an agreement and whether I am going back down or not.”
Nothing was said, according to Griffiths as to the option Wolves have on his services for another season. He added: “They never said anything more than they wanted me down for pre-season. It will be up to the new manager, whoever that might be, if he wants to keep me there or he wants me to go.
“Time will tell, who the new manager is and whether that will happen.”
Meanwhile Griffiths revealed he agreed with derby match-day winner Ross Caldwell that the balance of power in Edinburgh is shifting from Hearts to Hibs, a claim which was dismissed by Jambo star Darren Barr.
Griffiths said: “Speak to any Hearts player and they will say that because of what happened last season in the cup final and stuff. They might have the bragging rights, but we have gone the whole season unbeaten. We went to Tynecastle and gave them an absolute doing from start to finish. We felt mugged going in at half-time 1-0 down but we came out second half, showed even more determination and Ross might be right, the tide is turning.”