CHARLIE Adam believes Leigh Griffiths is capable of providing Scotland with a vital cutting edge up front in their remaining Qatar 2022 qualifiers and helping them to reach the next World Cup finals if he rediscovers his goalscoring form with Dundee in the coming weeks.

Celtic striker Griffiths has moved to Dens Park on loan for the remainder of the season in an attempt to get much-needed game time after falling out of favour at Parkhead and made his debut in the goalless draw with Livingston last weekend.

The 31-year-old will be hoping to open his account for the season in front of a sell-out crowd in the derby match against Dundee United at Tannadice this afternoon if selected by manager James McPake.

Adam, the former Rangers, Blackpool, Liverpool, Stoke City and Reading midfielder who helped his home town team win promotion back to the cinch Premiership last term, was pleased to see the forward arrive on Tayside just before the summer transfer window closed.

HeraldScotland:

He has warned his old national team mate that he is, with Jason Cummings, Alex Jakubiak, Danny Mullen and Cillian Sheridan all vying for a start, not guaranteed a place in the Dundee starting line-up.

However, he is hopeful that Griffiths, who was last on target five months ago, can feature regularly in the coming weeks, get back to his very best and help McPake’s men to consolidate their position in the top flight.

And he reckons the man whose late double against England in the Russia 2018 qualifier at Hampden back in 2017 made him a hero to the Tartan Army can force his way back into the Scotland set-up if he does. 

“We were delighted to get Griff,” he said. “For me, he is probably the best finisher in the country. He has come in from Celtic where it has been a tough period on the pitch and off the pitch. He hasn’t played. But if we can give him the opportunity to get game time and get him playing with a smile on his face then we will get the benefit from that.

“We have got other strikers who can help the team as well in Cummings, Jakubiak, Mullen and Sheridan. There is a different mixture of strikers. If Griff comes into the team, gets regular football and starts scoring goals then he will play. But if not somebody else will get the opportunity.

“But Griff comes in with a different reputation. You have seen the goals he has scored over the years at Celtic and at Hibs before that. It is up to him now. There is a platform there for him to go and play and I hope he can perform to the level we know he can.

HeraldScotland:

“He will get the opportunity to play games and score goals at Dundee. It is up to hm to grab that. The manager always says it doesn’t matter what name is on the back of the shirt, it is what is on the front that is key. The football club is more important than anybody.

“His prerogative is to go and get playing games regularly and once he does that then we will see what Leigh Griffiths is all about. I am delighted we have got it over the line and hopefully he can get scoring goals. You never know, he could be back in that Scotland set-up soon.”

Steve Clarke’s men boosted their chances of reaching Qatar 2022 via the play-offs earlier this month when they beat Moldova 1-0 at home and Austria 1-0 away to leapfrog Israel into second spot in Group F.

However, the national team spurned numerous scoring opportunities in both of those matches as well and Adam, who won 26 caps for his country between 2007 and 2015, feels having an on-form Griffiths in the squad would give the manager another potent option in attack.

“Anybody who is playing well for their club gives Steve Clarke something to think about,” he said. “There is hope for everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are playing for, if you are playing well you will get an opportunity.

“I have said that to the young boys at the club. Young Max Anderson got into the under-21 squad there the other day. If he keeps playing well in the first team at Dundee, opportunities will arise because you will get injuries, you will get suspensions at international level.

“These lads need to keep doing their talking on the pitch. Griff is the same. If he starts playing well and scoring goals for Dundee the Scotland thing will come around again. First he just needs to focus on getting regular games.”

HeraldScotland:

Speaking at a Fun Football Festival in his native Dundee, Adams praised the contribution made by both Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes, who scored winners against Moldova and Austria, in Scotland’s last triple header.

And he expressed confidence that the Southampton and Queens Park Rangers forwards can maintain their performance levels in the national team’s matches against Israel at home and the Faroe Islands away next month.

“The two lads up front at the moment are doing the business,” he said. “People criticised Dykes in the Euros. But he didn’t go into the tournament in any sort of form really. But he has scored three goals in five games for QPR this season. He came into the last camp in flying form.

“Would Steve maybe change that opening 45 minutes in the 2-0 defeat against Denmark? Yes. But that is what you do as a coach. You go with what you feel and you have belief in. We saw it never worked and he had to change at half-time. We were much better in the second-half and took the confidence from that into the games against Moldova and Austria.

“I thought we were excellent in both games. We had a nervous period against Moldova. When it is 1-0 they always have a chance at a set play or whatever. But we could have been out of sight.

“The performance in Austria is the benchmark. It is how we have to play from now on if we are to qualify for Qatar. It was magnificent from the strikers right back to the goalkeeper. It was great to see. But I do think we would benefit from having an out-and-out finisher like Griffiths as well.”

 

Charlie Adam is supporting McDonald’s Fun Football. Free football sessions for 5–11-year-olds are available nationwide this autumn. Visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/funfootball to sign up and play.