STEVEN NAISMITH insists he is ready to take over from Leigh Griffiths.

The Celtic striker was injured in the first-half of Scotland’s 4-0 trouncing from Belgium in an embarrassing friendly encounter at Hampden last night.

The frontman has been troubled by a persistent calf problem and didn’t appear after the interval with Naismith taking his place.

Alex McLeish admitted he could take no chances with his main goal threat ahead of Monday’s Nations League opener against Albania. Griffiths will have tests tomorrow morning to assess his fitness, but Hearts’ on-loan attacker has declared he is ready to step into the firing line.

Naismith, 31, surplus to requirements at Championship outfit Norwich, said: “I’ve believed since coming back up the road and starting the season well that I can contribute to the national team.

RARING TO GO…Leigh Griffiths (extreme left) goes through a loosening-up session at Hampden. Pic: Geo.

“I’ve now managed to get back in the squad and now I’ve just got to work hard when I’m on the training pitch and in the games to show the manager I do deserve a place.

“I thought I did well last night. We were playing against one of the best teams in the world, so you have to be strategic and pick your moments on when to press these guys because when you do it wrong you get punished and that’s what happened.

“But, as for myself, I was delighted to get half-a-game and I’ll work as hard as I can to help the young boys in the squad, but also to help us start the campaign well.

“Am I up for the job of filling in for Leigh if he doesn’t make Monday? Oh definitely!

“You can’t pick and choose where you play in the national team, but I do feel comfortable up there. I’ve done it at home against Croatia and many other times, too. I’ll play where the manager wants me to.

“Hopefully, if I get any more minutes this week I can take any chances that come my way.”

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