I heard Leigh Griffiths was being damned in a Scottish newspaper with a wide-eyed wonder about how many goals Steven Fletcher would score against Hamilton Accies, Ross County and Kilmarnock. Not Fenerbahce, Aberdeen or Malmo, who Leigh has scored four times against in four games, but didn’t rate a mention. Not even his goal against the mighty (cough) St Johnstone was recalled.
Leigh is the great underdog of our time. The Tea Cake Warrior who has reached above this allotted station. Hostile journalists are not alone in dismissing his potential, ask around, there are some in our own ranks.
Yesterday he responded, with wonderful understatement, to Paul Dykes tweet (below), noting the return he’s given compared to some of the more successful strikers we’ve had over the last dozen years of so, with “Not too bad I suppose…”
Goal scoring stats don’t tell you everything. Griffiths, Hooper and McDonald have a better goal return in their first 50 Celtic games than Henrik Larsson, but they are nowhere near the player he was, but if you are paid to be a goal scorer, this is a pretty important measure.
What Larsson did after those 50-or-so games was kick on with impressive style, eclipsing the exploits of Dalglish, and gave a return only McGrory could match. It’s totally unfair to ask Leigh to emulate Larsson, but there are comparisons with the immaculate Swede, Hooper and McDonald he achieve. All of them scored big goals for Celtic in important games.
When given a chance, Leigh has delivered in Europe. He never played for Celtic against Oldco Rangers, but he opened the scoring in an important League Cup semi-final against Newco last season, and he shows none of the complacency one or two on the above list were, on occasion, accused of.
A “bunch of Scots wrinklies” are walking through the Grand Canyon from Friday to raise funds for St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie. The Hospice costs thousands of pounds each week to carry out the work they do. Have a look here at what one of the “wrinklies” has to say about it. You’ll no doubt read more from Weeron inside.