Euro 2016: Scotland should start Leigh Griffiths - Tom Boyd

Leigh Griffiths has six caps for Scotland
Leigh Griffiths has six caps for Scotland
Euro 2016 qualifiers: Scotland v Poland
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Thursday, 8 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland and online, live text on BBC Sport website

Former Scotland captain Tom Boyd believes Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths should start in Thursday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland at Hampden.

Gordon Strachan's side are four points behind the Republic of Ireland in Group D with two games left.

"Leigh is the form player of the strikers at this moment in time," Boyd told BBC Radio Scotland.

"He's been patient at Celtic and on the international scene and, when he gets a chance, he takes his opportunity."

After hosting Poland on Thursday, Scotland's final qualifier is against Gibraltar in Faro on Sunday.

Republic of Ireland's two remaining Group D games are at home to world champions Germany then away to Poland.

"If we can get back to the performances that gave us optimism at the start of the campaign then I'm sure we can beat Poland at home," said Boyd, who is Scotland's fifth-most capped player with 72 international appearances to his name.

Tom Boyd won 72 caps for Scotland played at three major international tournaments
Tom Boyd won 72 caps for Scotland played at three major international tournaments

"My concern is that, in recent games, we've not played as well as we did at the start of the campaign, when we were energetic, lively and inventive.

"I know we scored two goals against Germany, but they won comfortably in the end.

"Although Poland are a good side, I don't think they're the same quality as Germany."

Griffiths has six caps for Scotland and came on as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat away to Georgia but did not feature in the 3-2 home loss to Germany.

He has scored 12 goals for Celtic so far this season, but Steven Fletcher has been Strachan's preferred starter up front despite only hitting the net twice with struggling Sunderland.

"My liking would be to put Leigh in there," said Boyd, who stressed his opinion is not because he used to be a Celtic player himself.

Euro 2016 Qualifying Group D

"He's now first choice at Celtic and rightly so, because of his attitude and the way he's performed on the field.

"Sticking with things the way they are has not seen us win a game in the last three qualifying games.

"We need to win this game, I would imagine. A draw might do us if Republic of Ireland don't pick anything up, but that would get a wee bit too close to call.

"We want to make sure we get a victory here and I would start Leigh, but managers tend to stick by the players who have done it and it might be sometimes to their cost."

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