By James Black
Celtic star Leigh Griffiths has admitted he is ‘gutted’ by Scotland’s failure to qualify for next summer’s World Cup.
The striker played a key role in Scotland’s resurgence during the second-half of the qualifying campaign but was powerless as Slovenia snatched a draw in the final round of games to deny the Scots a playoff place.
Griffiths scored vital goals against England, Malta and Slovenia to put the Scots within touching distance of a spot in Russia but it wasn’t enough for Gordon Strachan’s side.
The Celtic star had been ignored by Strachan in the early part of the campaign before winning a reprieve after his scintillating form for the Hoops but revealed he is already looking forward to the next campaign.
“Gutted we fell at the final hurdle,” Griffiths said in a post on his personal Instagram account.
“Been a great campaign for myself personally and I can’t wait for the next one.
“Thank you to all the tartan army fans who stuck with us.”
Griffiths’ emergence means he can be proud of what he offered the Scots– and fans have been left wondering what Scotland’s fate would have been had the Hoops hitman been part of Strachan’s team earlier in the campaign.
Scotland’s failure to qualify marks the tenth successive major tournament they have missed since playing in the 1998 World Cup in France.
Manager Gordon Strachan later blamed the failure to qualify on genetics, claiming Scottish players lacked the physicality of their continental counterparts.
Fans have rounded on that as being simply an excuse from a manager unwilling to accept his own shortcomings.
Scotland’s next campaign gets underway in 12 months with the inaugral UEFA Nations League.