LEIGH GRIFFITHS squandered a penalty-kick and the chance to notch his 34th goal of the season as 10-man Celtic were held in a 1-1 stalemate with Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park last night.
The striker had scored a first-half spot-kick when he was given the opportunity to slot in another and double the Hoops’ advantage over their battling hosts.
However, keeper Michael McGovern dived to push away his effort and Griffiths was left to regret his attempt and, at least, didn’t try to duck the blame afterwards.
He said: “I take responsibility. I’ve scored the first one so I should be stepping up confident of scoring the second one.
“But I’ve got to give credit to Michael, it was a great save and they’ve kicked on from that to get a point.
“That’s twice he’s saved a penalty from me so, hopefully, I don’t have to face him again. It’s annoying that we haven’t stretched our lead, but we’ve got to accept that and take it forward.
“We just concentrate on what we do so our mind is only on Dundee on Wednesday now.”
Ironically, McGovern is now the second ex-Celtic keeper to deny Griffiths in the last six games.
Ross County’s Scott Fox saved his less-than-convincing drive in the Highlanders’ shock 3-1 League Cup semi-final win on January 31 that obliterated the Hoops’ chances of a domestic treble.
Ronny Deila, who bizarrely blamed Dedryck Boyata for being sent off in the first-half, was not prepared to make excuses, either, for the champions dropping two points.
Gary Mackay-Steven, like Griffiths, also missed an excellent chance to put the Parkhead side further ahead when McGovern beat away his feeble attempt after being put through by Keiran Tierney.
The Norwegian said: “I was disappointed that we lost two points because we controlled the game quite well at 1-0, and then in the second-half we produced three chances, should have scored two, but we couldn’t do it.
“When you get two alone with the goalkeeper and a penalty and miss it, then it is going to be hard to win football games.
“At the end, the opponents will get a chance or two and it was a good finish from the set-play.”
Hamilton player/manager Martin Canning felt pride had been restored after the recent 8-1 thrashing at Celtic Park, and even expressed some disappointment that his side could not force the win.
He said: “Everyone was hurting after the last game, but we showed we can get over that and put on a performance.
“We knew it was a bad night for us. Every game has to be taken individually and that proved it. It feels like a win in a way as we would have taken a point before the game.
“But I said in the dressing room it was disappointing we didn’t win given the way the game went. It was a big opportunity to get the three points, which would have been the most important thing.”
Deila’s men are seven points ahead of Aberdeen who take on St Johnstone at Pittodrie this afternoon.
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