Clarke names squad for Belgrade
Griffiths’ Scotland recall for make-or-break play-off
Qualities: Leigh Griffiths (pic: SNS Group)
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has named Celtic star Leigh Griffiths in his squad for the first time for the Euro 2020 play-off against Serbia.
Grant Hanley is included for the first time in more than two years and there was also a recall for Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
Scott McKenna and Liam Palmer are named after recovering from their injuries with Robby McCrorie, Ryan Porteous and John Fleck all dropping out from the 27-man squad.
Griffiths has not played for Scotland since September 2018 but as he looked towards the winner-takes-all meeting in Belgrade on Thursday, 12 November, Clarke said: “Leigh Griffiths’ qualities show for themselves, off the back of his goal against Aberdeen in the league, and he can add something to the squad for sure.
“That’s the same as Craig Gordon and Grant Hanley. They know their jobs and I’m pleased to have them involved in the squad.
“Since the games last month this has been something to look forward to and it’s a big moment for the country.
“We’ve named a larger squad than usual and if you look at what happened the last time the squad met up with the Covid incident in camp we know anything can happen at any time so we need to be able to deal with that.
“It was easier the last time as we were based in Scotland but this time we’re going on a road trip. When we leave for Serbia we don’t come back, we’ll go to Slovakia and Israel.
“That presents a different challenge but there’s big rewards to be had at the end of it I’m sure they’ll be focused and ready to do their best for their country.
“Our aim is to get the country back to a major finals. Hopefully we can do it and everyone involved will get a little bit of credit but the majority of the credit would go to the players as they are the ones that will be out on the pitch.”
The squad will also cover the Scots’ two Nations League matches away to Slovakia on Sunday 15 November and Israel three days later.
Goalkeepers: Marshall (Derby County); McLaughlin (Rangers); Gordon (Hearts).
Defenders: Considine (Aberdeen); Gallagher (Motherwell); McKenna (Nottingham Forest); Cooper (Leeds); O’Donnell (Motherwell); Palmer (Sheffield Wed); Robertson (Liverpool); Tierney (Arsenal); Taylor (Celtic); Hanley (Norwich City).
Midfielders: McTominay (Manchester United); Christie (Celtic); McGregor (Celtic); Armstrong (Southampton); Jack (Rangers); McGinn (Aston Villa); Kenny McLean (Norwich City).
Forwards: Dykes (QPR); Fraser (Newcastle); Burke (Sheffield United); McBurnie (Sheffield United); Griffiths (Celtic); Paterson (Sheffield Wed); Shankland (Dundee United).