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DEILA HAILS GRIFFITHS

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RONNY DEILA has praised Leigh Griffiths after the Celtic striker notched his fifth goal in three games in the 2-0 win over French side Rennes at Parkhead yesterday.

The hitman opened the scoring in the 13th minute to add to his fine goal against Stjarnan in midweek and his hat-trick against SD Eibar in Spain a week ago.

Gary Mackay-Steven netted the second 10 minutes later to give the champions a comfortable win in their final pre-season match.

Deila said: “Leigh answers me every game he plays, if he plays from the start or from the bench.

“Again, we have to understand that it’s the team that is important. It’s Celtic Football Club that wins games and, of course, people think about themselves as well, but he has a great attitude whether he starts or comes off the bench. He gives 100 per cent and in the end he’ll get rewarded for that.

“He started the game against Rennes and did well so I’m happy with the way Leigh is performing and developing.

“There’s a chance we’ll go with him on Wednesday. He’s scoring in every game he plays so it’s hard to not play him, but it’s a little bit about the opponent and how we think the game is going to be. He showed he’s in good shape.”

The victory against the French side was the perfect way to warm up for Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier against Qarabag and allowed the manager to give some of his fringe players much-needed game-time ahead of the start of the season.

The Norwegian acknowledged that the midweek opponents are somewhat of an unknown entity ahead of the crunch tie, but said the Azerbaijan champions will feel the same about Celtic, insisting his side must be at their best to get the much-needed victory.

“He added: “It’s no different playing Qarabag from playing Rennes. I didn’t know anything about them, either. There was a Norwegian player – that was the only thing I knew.

“It’s hard for Qarabag as well as they’ve never played against us.

“We need a performance like the Inter Milan game, but we have to be better defensively than we were in the home game. If we do that we have a good chance.

“We know we’ll meet a good team, but we’re up for it and I am enjoying that task. I think we’re ready for it and will have a good performance on Wednesday.”

 
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