Celtic's Leigh Griffiths poised to join Hearts' Steven Naismith on Scotland sidelines

Steven Naismith looks dejected as he awaits treatment on the pitch
Hearts suffered against Celtic after Naismith was forced off in the eighth minute

Scotland have suffered a double striker blow, with Leigh Griffiths poised to join Steven Naismith in missing their Nations League double header.

Hearts' Naismith could be sidelined for up to eight weeks as he requires surgery on a knee cartilage tear.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers does not hold out much hope of Griffiths facing Albania and Israel even if selected by Scotland head coach Alex McLeish.

"If he was available, he would be nowhere near match fit," he said.

The striker, who has not played since Celtic beat St Johnstone 6-0 on 7 October, did not train on Tuesday.

Asked when Griffiths was likely to return to action, Rodgers said: "I'm not sure at the moment. We just take it day by day.

"It's a blow - Steven Naismith being out for Scotland and for Hearts, of course - but we just need to assess that.

"There's not a lot of time. That's the only thing I would say."

Scotland, who lost their second Nations League match 2-1 in Israel earlier this month, travel to face Albania on 17 November before hosting Israel at Hampden on 20 November.

Naismith has been McLeish's first choice since replacing an out-of-sorts Griffiths at half-time in a 4-0 friendly defeat by Belgium last month.

But the Hearts forward was forced off in the early stages of Celtic's League Cup semi-final win over the Edinburgh side and the on-loan 32-year-old has returned to parent club Norwich City for assessment.

A rejuvenated Naismith has scored 11 goals in 16 games for the Scottish Premiership leaders this season.

He marked his return to the Scotland side with a goal in their opening 2-0 Nations League win over Albania and was also on the mark in a friendly defeat by Portugal.

Naismith will also miss a host of crucial league games for the Edinburgh side, starting with Wednesday's derby against Hibernian at Tynecastle.

He is the latest key player manager Craig Levein will have to do without, with Scotland centre-backs Christophe Berra and John Souttar and English striker Uche Ikpeazu already on the long-term casualty list.

"We've had a number of blows in the last three or four weeks, so we have to cope with this as well as we've done with the other ones," Levein said.

"It does leave us a little bit thin up top with Uche being out as well, but we'll get by."


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