GORDON STRACHAN has saluted Leigh Griffiths’ progress on the Scotland international front.
The Scots boss gave the Celtic star an hour as a lone striker in a 1-0 win over Croatia in Zagreb in 2013.
It was only Strachan’s fourth game in charge and the World Cup campaign was virtually over before he had arrived.
The fact Griffiths then only played 15 minutes as a sub in the entire Euro 2016 campaign that followed was an indication of the impression he made.
But it looks likely he will be the first name on the team sheet when Scotland face Slovakia at Hampden on Thursday night.
It’s the first stage of the six-point double-header dream they need to keep alive the World Cup campaign.
Strachan said: “From that Croatia game, Leigh is a different man altogether. He’s not the same person.
“There’s been an incredible change in him. It was like his not-so-good twin brother that was playing in Croatia.
“He gave it his best, in terms of what he had physically.
“But what he knows about the game and how he has developed since then is beyond belief.
“Fair play to him because he was a man who maybe two-and-a-half years ago was going to go to Hibs on loan again.
“But for all the coaches he’s had and everything else, most of his progress is down to him.
“He’s still a lad who keeps himself to himself and doesn’t bother anybody off the field.
“But when he’s on the training field, he’s good.”