LEIGH GRIFFITHS gatecrashed the Celtic’s Top Twenty goalscorers’ chart – but didn’t receive the acclaim he would have anticipated.
The 30-year-old striker, who may have a crucial role to play for Scotland in their all-important Euro Play-Off Final against Serbia in Belgrade tonight, claimed his 118th strike for the Hoops in the humiliating 4-1 collapse against Sparta Prague a week ago.
Griffiths came off the substitutes’ bench on the hour mark for Mohamed Elyounoussi to fire in a rebound from a Tom Rogic drive to bring it back to 2-1, but further lapses in defence cost Neil Lennon’s men the opportunity of clawing their way back into the contest.
The hitman, who remained on the bench during the much-needed 4-1 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park on Sunday, was signed by Lennon first-time around from Wolves for £1.2million six and half years ago and has taken longer than may have been expected to get in among the elite of Parkhead hot shots.
Following personal problems, Griffiths is hoping to make up for lost ground in a monumental season where Celtic can clinch a phenomenal quadruple treble and a historic tenth successive title.
The forward, speaking to the Celtic View, said: “You always want to be part of things and as long as I can keep getting game time then my match sharpness will come back as quickly as it went away.
“I just want to keep getting minutes on the pitch and keep working hard and keep those numbers up.
“Getting that goal, getting into the top 20 scorers at Celtic, is a massive achievement for myself. Now, it’s just about trying to kick on and perhaps see how many places I can climb up that list.
“As for the prospect of another treble? Listen, we know what’s at stake. We’re one game away from making history in the Scottish Cup. We’re under no illusions that the Hearts squad won’t be fired up for it, they’ll be raring to go and wanting to stop us, but we just need to bring our A-game, make sure everyone is on-point and fired up.
“We want to go and win that trophy for the fourth time on the bounce and what better way to do that than to win a quadruple treble?”
Griffiths may get the opportunity to add to his goal tally when the champions take on his boyhood heroes Hibs at Easter Road a week on Saturday when club football resumes after the international break.
The frontman is one of four Hoops men – including Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and Greg Taylor – involved with a Scotland squad that hopes to overcome Serbia this evening to reach the finals of a major tournament since the World Cup in France in 1998.
Steve Clarke’s men also face a UEFA Nations double bill in Slovakia on Sunday afternoon and Israel on Wednesday night.
And then the focus is on a win in Leith which is something which escaped Scotland’s title kings last season. In their only game at Easter Road, the visitors shed two points in a 1-1 draw where Christie equalised an early own goal from Kristoffer Ajer.
There is no room for a stalemate on this occasion.