Leigh Griffiths has hit back at Scotland boss Gordon Strachan’s claims he is too small to lead the line for his country by changing his Twitter name to #Shorty.
The Celtic hitman responded in light-hearted fashion after his national team manager suggested he did not have the required stature to fill the loan striker’s role on the international stage.
Strachan has gone with Derby’s Chris Martin and Steven Fletcher of Sheffield Wednesday up top in the Scots’ three World Cup qualifiers so far.
Griffiths – who measures up at 5ft, 8ins – has been limited to two substitute appearances this time round following on from the grand total of 15 minutes he was given by Strachan during the whole of the Scots’ failed Euro 2016 bid.
The Parkhead ace blasted 40 goals for his club last term but that has not been enough to convince Strachan to give him a start. However, Barry Bannan – two inches shorter at 5ft 6ins – started both the Scots’ recent clashes with Lithuania and Slovakia.
Strachan’s side took just one point from the double header, leaving their hopes of reaching Russia in two years’ time hanging by a thread.
The national team boss, speaking to several Sunday newspapers, replied after he was asked whether Griffiths would have to accept he would only be used as a substitute: “No, I wouldn’t say that.
“In the 51 games in the Euro Championships the first 19 goals were scored from set-plays. That means you have to have a certain amount of height to defend corner kicks. I’ll give you an example. The team was a lot smaller at 2-0 than it was at 0-0 [in Slovakia]and the first corner kick we get after that, they score with a header. Does that help you with the certain amount of height that you have to have in my team? There’s absolutely no doubt about it.
“People can argue that toss and debate it. But that is fact. You need to have a certain amount of height in international football teams to defend set plays. It’s not just Leigh Griffiths. You’ve got to try and get the balance. I could pick a huge team but there would be a problem passing the ball.
“I could pick the smallest team and they could pass the ball better. But what we’ve struggled with is physical combat in the middle of the park and set plays. I’ve got to try and get a balance between height and strength and ability. If you’ve got the whole package then that’s a real bonus. Unfortunately we didn’t have too many with the whole package.”