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Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Stark tips Griffiths for stardom

Dundee striker Leigh Griffiths
Griffiths has been in fine form for Dundee in the First Division

Billy Stark has tipped Leigh Griffiths to be a major player for both club and country after handing him his maiden call-up to the Scotland Under-21 squad.

Griffiths, who has netted 12 goals this season, replaces suspended Dundee United forward David Goodwillie for Saturday's game in Azerbaijan.

"With Jocky Scott at Dundee, he will be coached properly," said manager Stark.

"With the ability and instinct that he's got, he's going to be a big player for many years to come."

Stark now hopes the Under-21s are about to benefit from Griffiths' sparkling form as they head to Baku joint top of their 2011 European Championship qualifying section.

"I know Leigh because we had him in the Under-19s last year and he has done exceptionally well," said Stark.

"He is a goalscorer and there are not many who can say that."

The Scots are top along with Austria and Belarus, having won three of their four qualifying matches.

if you look at the depth of the squad we have, we I'm sure we can go there and get the three points.

Scotland Under-21 striker Leigh Griffiths

"We realise it's going to be a really tough game, because the form that Azerbaijan have shown so far," said Stark

"While it hasn't resulted in points so far, they should have won against Austria, so we're expecting a very tough game."

Griffiths is also anticipating a tricky encounter and, while Azerbaijan are a relatively unknown quantity, the 19-year-old Scotland should be confident of returning home with a win.

"I've watched the games they played against Belarus and Austria and they look fairly decent," said Griffiths.

"But, if you look at the depth of the squad we have, I'm sure we can go there and get the three points."

Hibs full-back Lewis Stevenson was a late call-up but there is no place in Stark's party for in-form Motherwell midfielder Ross Forbes or John Fleck of Rangers.

Celtic's Jason Marr replaces injured Falkirk defender Thomas Scobbie.

Forbes and Fleck, who were in the last under-21 squad, may yet be called up for the forthcoming Under-19s game against Germany.

Scotland Under-21 squad for Uefa European Under-21 Championship qualifier with Azerbaijan in Baku on November 14 (kick-off 1500GMT):

Goalkeepers: Jamie Barclay (Falkirk), Scott Gallacher (Rangers), Alan Martin (Leeds)
Defenders: Paul Caddis (Celtic), Brian Easton (Burnley), David Gray (Manchester United), Paul Hanlon (Hibernian), Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian), Jason Marr (Celtic), Chris Mitchell (Falkirk), Ross Perry (Rangers)
Midfielders: Scott Arfield (Falkirk), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), Paul Coutts (Peterborough), Kevin McDonald (Burnley), Stephen McGinn (St Mirren), David Wotherspoon (Hibernian)
Forwards: Leigh Griffiths (Dundee), Rory Loy (Rangers), Chris Maguire (Aberdeen), Jamie Murphy (Motherwell).

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see also
Scotland U21 1-0 Belarus U21
10 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Austria U21 1-0 Scotland U21
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Scotland U21 5-2 Albania U21
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Albania U21 0-1 Scotland U21
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals

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