Paul Hanlon scored from a David Wotherspoon assist, while Leigh Griffiths made a positive impact from the bench as Stark’s side swept past Luxembourg with a resounding 5-1 away win on Thursday. The national team boss also praised Callum Booth, an unused substitute in the same game.
“Paul’s the captain and has been a stalwart for us,” said Stark. “He has played regular football and has done very well. Callum made a big impact and has had a wee break recently, which I think is the right thing, and David’s similar in that he has played regularly [at Hibs] under John Hughes but has maybe suffered from that [not having a break]. David has been moved about positionally, too, which is sometimes difficult – but it’s good for a young player to do that.”
Scotland moved to second in their group, behind Holland, and can pull further clear of third-placed Austria by beating them on Monday at St Mirren Park. The margin of victory in Luxembourg was due largely to a Jordan Rhodes hat-trick, with Griffiths having to settle for a role coming off the bench but receiving warm recognition for his efforts from boss Stark.
“It’s the same with any player, he’s got to play more regularly,” said Stark. “He tells me he’s really enjoying it at Hibs just now, and he’s looking forward to more regular starts. There’s more competition for places now that they have more strikers in.
“I don’t know if there’s been a dramatic change in Leigh. He wasn’t playing that regularly, but now we’re noticing subtle changes. He’s in a decent frame of mind and has been lively.”