LEIGH GRIFFITHS finally got the number 9 jersey from Gordon Strachan last night but his inclusion and that of his Celtic colleagues Craig Gordon, Scott Brown and James Forrest, wasn’t enough for Scotland on a hugely frustrating night at Wembley.
You could sense the frustration and the disappointment in all of the post match interviews from Scotland players who missed their chances while a clinical England headed three of the four chances they created past a blameless Craig Gordon.
The big Celtic goalkeeper, who has given up conceding goals in the domestic game, didn’t have a save to make all night and had a relatively quiet match. The most exercise he got all night was bending down to pick the ball out of the Scotland net on three occasions.
Griffiths looked like the frustrations of waiting on the sidelines was influencing his decision making as he appeared too eager to get his own efforts on goal. He could have played Snodgrass in during a first half when Scotland had the better of it, but choose to have a shot at goal, to the annoyance of the Hull City forward who busted a gut to get himself ready to play at Wembley.
‘That is still part of my game that I need to learn. He was disappointed and I was disappointed not to slip him in. It was one of those things,’ said the Celtic star. You get the feeling that if he’d been established in the side then the correct decision would have been taken and Snodgrass would have had his pass.
Griffiths could take some positives from the biggest defeat for Scotland at Wembley since that awful afternoon in 1975 when the Scots lost by 5-1.
‘I don’t think I did too badly. If people think that was a bad team performance, then they were watching a different game.
‘At times we played some really good stuff but you have to be clinical when the ball is in the box,’ said Griffiths.
Looking at his own performance Griffiths reckons he did all he could on the night.
‘At times my link up play was good and I tried to do what the manager asked me all game.
‘I stuck on their holding midfielder and pressed when I could. But whether I’ve done enough to stay in the team is not my call to make.
‘Tonight was huge for me. As a kid, you want to play for your country no matter who it’s against.
‘I love pulling on that jersey and to start a game of this magnitude was massive for me. I had a lot of people watching back home and hopefully I did them proud,’ said the Celtic No 9.
‘I was delighted to start, you’ve got to be clinical and England showed how clinical they were – and we weren’t.
‘It’s a hard one to take really. We started off really well and then they scored. Nine times out of 10 Sturridge would have put that header over the bar but he scored.
‘And in the second half we started really well but missed two great chances and they go up the park and score another header, which is bitterly disappointing from our point of view.