Naismith offers Griffiths support

11 October 2018 04:08:52 EST

Forward Steven Naismith has backed fellow striker Leigh Griffiths to enjoy a successful future with Scotland, despite having withdrawn from their latest squad.

Celtic frontman Griffths has opted to miss the Nations League game against Israel on Thursday evening and the following friendly international with Portugal, citing the need to try and work on his fitness.

Once he starts playing and getting confidence and everyone gets off his back, he'll be a great player for both club and country.

Scott Brown

And Hearts star Naismith, who is poised to win his 50th cap in Haifa, is confident that Griffiths will be back in the national team fold in the near future.

He told reporters: "Griff has been in a lot of squads where he has not played a lot of games, but he has continued to turn up.

"If anything, he is coming to a time in his career when he is reaching his peak. Why would you want to miss out on international football when you are coming into that period?

"He has worked hard and scored a few goals for Celtic, but if he has come to this conclusion for this trip then that is fair enough.

"In a year's time we might be sitting here thinking we are close to going to the Euros and Griff's a big part of that. Why would you not want to be a part of it?"

Griffiths was also given the backing of his club captain, Scott Brown, who added: "He wants to get himself fitter and we want him back and scoring 20 or 30 goals a season.

"Once he starts playing and getting confidence and everyone gets off his back, he'll be a great player for both club and country."

Scotland are 13/8 to defeat Israel and are 11/2 to secure a 1-0 victory, with Naismith priced at 3/1 to score at any time in the game.

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