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‘SCOTS DOING IT FOR THE NATION’, GRIFFITHS

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LEIGH GRIFFITHS has said that the Scotland camp know what they’re playing for as they go to Slovenia in order to seal passage to the play-off round.
The Celtic hitman has already been influential in the revival of Gordon Strachan’s side and is eager to end the twenty-year wait to reach a major tournament.

“It’s not just us we are playing for, us and the 18 people in the squad, there’s five million out there.”

Griffiths’ role in setting up the late own goal from Martin Skrtel was pivotal as he managed to hold the ball up before finding Anya, who’s cross was turned in.

“We sent a lot of folk home happy from Hampden but it counts for nothing if we don’t do the job in Slovenia. It’s another big push but it’s a game we are more than capable of winning.”

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The England game is still raw for Griffiths after two excellent free-kicks brought Scotland seconds from a famous victory over the Auld Enemy.

“After that game we were all really hurting thinking we should have got the three points. It would have been a massive, massive boost.

“It’s a point nobody expected us to get and it’s a point that has helped to get us into the position we are in now.”

Leith-born Griffiths has scored three times in 16 appearances, all three this campaign, and is happy with how his own progression and the Scottish revival; despite admitting that it won’t make a difference if they slip up in Slovenia.

“I’m proud of myself, my family are proud of me. But it matters for nothing if we don’t get to the play-offs.

“I think after the England game at Wembley everyone had written us off but we’ve turned it right round and we are now just one game away from a play-off.”

Scotland opened their World Cup qualifiers with a 5-1 away win to Malta before a shock 1-1 draw at home to Lithuania and two 3-0 defeats away to England and Slovakia threatened to end their qualification dream after just four games; however, 13 points out of a possible 15 have left the Scots within a win of qualification.

Griffiths paid homage to his manager, Gordon Strachan, who he believes has shown his worth by turning the fortunes of the side around.

“Nobody will be happier than him. Earlier in the campaign he was getting a lot of stick from a lot of folk but he stuck at it.

“He doesn’t let it get to him, he just concentrates on his job and working with the players. He’s said he loves working with us and you saw in the last four or five performances we’ve done well.

“He doesn’t do what everyone wants him to do, he does what he wants. You have to give him massive credit for that. Everyone will go and pat him on the back if we get that win in Slovenia.”

Strachan, 60, signed a new two-year contract in October 2015 and his role will be up for review from both Strachan himself and the SFA after tomorrow’s match.
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