STEVE CLARKE will probably name at least four strikers in his Scotland squad for the Euros. And in my opinion Leigh Griffiths could be one of them.

Based on previous selections and current form, I’d imagine Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes are both near certainties to be included.

I’d also argue that Kevin Nisbet’s form for Hibs – 17 goals so far – makes him a very strong candidate for a place too. It would be hard to leave him out given everything he’s done this season.

That leaves potentially just one place for a centre forward to stake their claim. It looks like Oli McBurnie will be ruled out by injury.

I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea but in my eyes he’s a guy who tries his heart out every time he pulls on a Scotland shirt.

Some of the stick he’s taken from a variety of sources has been nothing short of despicable. And ahead of this weekend’s social media boycott to raise awareness of online abuse, that’s hopefully something we don’t see again whenever he’s back representing his country in future as he surely will.  

You look at the other potential contenders to make the cut this summer; Oliver Burke, Callum Paterson, Marc McNulty, Lawrence Shankland and Johnny Russell.

Shankland has been in and around the squad before but he’s coming off the back of a challenging first season back in the Premiership for Dundee United.

You could argue that he’s been more of a team player in a side in the bottom half of the table that doesn’t create a lot of chances. As a centre forward that’s not really his fault.

But, just as managers are judged on results, then strikers are rated on how many goals they score.

As a coach I like to see my forward players making more of an all-round contribution, working hard and linking up well with others. But ultimately it comes down to what they do in front of goal. That’s what Steve will be looking at too I suspect.

I like Russell a lot as a player. But I suspect he falls into the same category as Ryan Gauld who I wrote about in last week’s column in that he’s maybe out of sight, out of mind playing over in Kansas City.

With no leading candidate for the fourth striker slot, then, it would make sense that Griffiths get the nod.

His fitness issues have been well documented and he’s not played a huge amount of football this season which has been a frustration for both club and country.

But if you measure him up against all the other players in the group and he’s still for me the most natural, instinctive finisher that we’ve got.

You look at his recent appearance against Aberdeen and his movement for his goal was just terrific.

We’re going into a really tough group and you’d imagine the home games against the Czechs and Croatia, in particular, will be really close and evenly contested.

Steve’s mindset tends to be to make sure the defensive side of the game is done properly in the first instance and then see what we can do in attack after that.

As a team, Scotland don’t create a lot of chances in many of our matches. And in big games against really good sides this summer, I suspect they will be even fewer.

That’s why if we’re going into the closing stages of any of the matches needing a goal as a manager I’d want Griffiths on the bench to turn to.

You’d want the likes of Adams, Dykes, maybe Ryan Forrest or James Forrest to run themselves into the ground for the bulk of the contest to keep us in the game – something Griffiths probably won’t do.

And then if it’s still close with 15 or 20 minutes to go, I’d be looking to bring on the Celtic striker and hope he can create something out of nothing, whether from open play or a dead-ball situation.

If he could recreate those free kicks against England from a few years ago then that would be nice!

So I hope Leigh is still in Steve’s thoughts as he looks to put the finishing touches to his squad. There was good news in that regard this week that he will now be able to call up 26 rather than 23 players.

I’d imagine he will have many of the original 23 already pencilled in but this now gives an opportunity for a late runner or two to make a case over the last month of the domestic season.

I’d hope that Steve would use these extra berths to add in one or two extra forward players as they are often the ones who end up being sacrificed whenever a manager has to make a choice to get the numbers down – I’ve been there myself and it’s not easy.

But I’d hope there could still be a space for Nathan Patterson too. The Rangers defender probably wouldn’t be a main starter, as Steve has relied on Stephen O’Donnell, but he would certainly make for an excellent back-up if called upon.

And given he looks a certainty to become a full international in the not-too-distant future, I’d argue that it would be good to bring him along for the experience of being at a major competition with the hope that it’s not too long before we’re back at another one.