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GRIFFITHS’ EURO BLOW

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CELTIC striker Leigh Griffiths has withdrawn from the Scotland squad to play Gibraltar in the final – and irrelevant – Euro 2016 qualifier in Portugal tomorrow night.

The 12-goal Hoops frontman isn’t taking any risks with a minor knock and will return to the Parkhead club for treatment.
Team-mate Charlie Mulgrew, who has been struggling with injury, has also pulled out of Gordon Strachan’s pool for the tie which has been rendered meaningless.
Other withdrawals this morning are midfielders James McArthur and James Morrison and striker Jordan Rhodes, who, like Griffiths, sat out Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Poland at Hampden.
The Poles’ dramatic last-kick equaliser in stoppage time robbed Strachan’s men of all three points while a goal from Shane Long gave Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland team a sensational 1-0 victory over world champions Germany in Dublin on the same night.
Scotland are now six points adrift of third place in Group D, following Robert Lewandowski’s two goals in Glasgow.

Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher started in attack for Strachan against the Poles despite public clamour for Griffiths to be handed a place in the starting line-up. To be fair, the former Hibs star scored a spectacular second goal.

Versatile Mulgrew has struggled with injury for the past few weeks and Hoops boss Ronny Deila predicted he would drop out of the national squad. He, too, will return to his club and prepare for the match against Motherwell a week today with a High Noon kick-off at Fir Park.

Poland and the Republic of Ireland will meet tomorrow night to discover which nation will automatically qualify along with Germany for the Euro Finals in France next summer.
Ironically, neither team managed to beat Scotland in the qualifiers. Strachan’s men took four points from the Irish after winning 1-0 at Parkhead and drawing 1-1 in Dublin. They also drew 2-2 with the Poles home and away.

 
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