Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths gets chance to prove worth for country

Watched: Leigh Griffiths
Watched: Leigh Griffiths
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BILLY STARK will give Leigh Griffiths the chance to stake his claim for a place in the Scotland Under-21s attack after being impressed by the Hibs striker’s recent form.

Boss Stark’s side face Holland on Monday in a qualifier for the 2013 European Championships, with Griffiths having featured only as a substitute in each of the three previous Group 10 matches.

But, the on-loan Easter Road striker will hope the clash in Nijmegen allows him to significantly add to the 58 minutes of action he has tallied in the campaign so far, given both the form he has shown at club level and the involvement of under-21 striker Jordan Rhodes in Craig Levein’s senior national squad this weekend.

Rhodes was due to link up once more with Stark’s squad tonight having been part of Levein’s plans for last night’s friendly in Cyprus, and that could pave the way for Griffiths to make a rare start.

“Jordan will join us and if he does get a shot it will be for 20-30 minutes, but Leigh is one who is in my thoughts,” said Stark. “I had someone at the Hibs-Dunfermline game on Saturday and, sore as it was for him [a 1-0 defeat for Hibs], he was still bright and energetic.

“Leigh has been one of Hibs’ better players this season. I saw him at Celtic [a fortnight ago] and he was excellent. We know the assets he has.”

Stark expressed no concerns for the stability of the Hibs quartet in his squad, Paul Hanlon, Callum Booth, David Wotherspoon and Griffiths following the sacking of their club’s manager Colin Calderwood last weekend.

“They’re fine,” said Stark. “When you get a squad together, there are circumstances surrounding some of them, whether they’re on a run of defeats or morale’s low. Having lost a manager, young lads quite understandably don’t comprehend all the ramifications.

“To come into this environment can only be good for them. They can forget about other circumstances.”