LEIGH GRIFFITHS yesterday revealed he had to score for Celtic against Hamilton Academical after his three main competitors for a Scotland starting spot got goals for their respective clubs the previous day.

The striker, who took his season's tally to 12 in his side’s 2-1 at New Douglas Park, couldn’t help but note that Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes and Chris Martin all found the net days before the national team have their date with destiny against Poland at Hampden Park.

Gordon Strachan has to find a win on Thursday night and while he will be pleased that all his forwards have found form, it is the Celtic man who has been playing the football of his life for months, his winner in this game as good a header as you will see all season.

And the Celtic hero would love a crack at helping his country into a play-off place for next summer’s European Championships in France.

“I had to score because the other three strikers for Scotland scored yesterday. I had to do my bit,” said Griffiths. “They scored right after each other as well.

“I went back to the house for a bit of time off, was watching Soccer Saturday and saw them pop up. Jordan got a double, Fletch got one then Chris scored and I’m sitting going, ‘ooof, I need to do something special tomorrow.

“But I’m just happy to get the goal get the win and go into the international break on a high. I can only concentrate on what I’m doing for Celtic. If I keep doing well and scoring goals the manager is going to have a tough job to decide who is going to play.

“If I’m not in the starting eleven I will sit on the bench and wait for my turn. I’ve said before there are a lot of players vying for that one jersey.

“It’s great to see the boys scoring yesterday, especially Fletch because he has had a lot of stick. I know he has worked really hard and deserved his goal for Sunderland – so he will come up with a lot of confidence.

“He led the line well against Georgia and Germany, so the manager has a lot of good options there. We will see who he picks on Thursday.”

Strachan does favour Fletcher and the fact he scored his goal in the Premier League for Sunderland against West Ham United might do his cause more good.

“Maybe, but hopefully my Europa League goal can count as three,” said Griffiths.

The Celtic manager believes his man is good enough to cut it an international level. He was happy with another Griffiths goal and the fact the gap to Aberdeen is now just one point.

“It’s very encouraging. We are breathing down their necks – and we will keep pushing,” said Deila. “Everyone says that Celtic has to win everything because we are so much better than anyone and, of course, we also say that we are the best. But I don’t think people understand how tough it is for us to win every week.

“We play two times a week and have international players. Other teams can prepare for a week and we have to face a cup final every week. We have two and half days between games so it’s a very good performance to have seven wins, two draws and one defeat. That’s better than last season and we will now push on."

Celtic may have won, however, Hamilton were the equal of the Scottish champions and it says much about where the club are that they felt rightly aggrieved not to take something from this game. Few would have begrudged them a point.

“My feelings are a mixture of frustration and pride in my players,” said Hamilton manager Martin Canning. “I thought we were excellent in the second-half, we scored a great early goal and perhaps were wrong to try to protect the lead we had."

Hamilton’s goalscorer Gramoz Kurtaj shared his manager’s feelings. "To be honest, I am disappointed,” said the German. “They made mistakes because we were aggressive and brave. We were not scared of Celtic."