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Strachan’s praise for Griffiths

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A year ago Leigh Griffiths was struggling to convince Gordon Strachan that he was worth a starting place in the Scotland team. Two goals against England changed that.

Strachan got to work close up with Griffiths over his final months in charge of Scotland and saw a side of the former Hibs striker that few fans appreciate.

He may appear as an off-the-cuff instinctive player but on the park Griffiths can be a cold, calculating goal machine.

Rarely does he balloon a shot over the bar, almost every effort is drilled hard and low as he closes in on his 100th Celtic goal.

Brendan Rodgers is likely to line up with Moussa Dembele at Hampden but if he puts Griffiths in from the start Strachan wouldn’t be surprised.

When people talk about players improving, they often get unfairly treated,” the former Scotland boss told the Daily Record. “People say they’re not this and they’re not that, they’re not very clever but you need to have a reasonable amount of intelligence to take things in and there’s no doubt he’s taken things in from managers over the last three or four years that have made him a better player.

He’s daft at times but you wouldn’t change him. He’s not done me any harm when I worked with him.

He added to the energy about the place, the humour and the fact I can watch him score wonderful goals. He’s not done any managers harm. He may do silly things but I can’t recall anything that’s affected anyone long term.”

At Hampden a year ago Dembele created the opening goal for Callum McGregor, Griffiths then replaced the injured Frenchman and was fouled for Celtic’s second goal that was put away from the penalty spot by Scott Sinclair.

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