LEIGH GRIFFITHS is hoping silence will be golden in the new season. Or, to be more accurate, silver with the champions aiming for a record-breaking 10 in a row.
The new Premiership campaign is scheduled to kick off on August 1 with the Hoops playing in empty grounds due to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic that forced football into cold storage in mid-March.
The 29-year-old Scotland international hitman claimed a memorable hat-trick in the team’s final game of the 2019/20 campaign in the 5-0 win over St Mirren at Parkhead on Saturday, March 7.
It took the comeback striker’s haul to 11 – with eight being struck in 2020 – in an interrupted season, but he was on fire as he prepared for the eight-game run-in to the ninth successive crown while the holders were due to face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Easter Sunday.
Obviously, Griffiths and his team-mates will miss the passionate backing of 60,000 fans in the east end of Glasgow when the term eventually gets undrway after four-and-a-half months of inactivity.
The prolific raider, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It’ll be strange going to some stadiums away from home like Ibrox or Tannadice or wherever and I won’t be getting any stick. It’ll feel weird and I’ll be feeling quite good!
PRIZE GUY…Leigh Griffiths holds the ninth successive title. Picture courtesy Celtic Football Club.
“We’ll find our ways to deal with whatever happens.
“We’ll go back next week into training, we’ll have a massive meeting about how big next season is and everyone will know.
“The fans are excited for it and so are the players. We know it is going to be tough and teams will want to stop us, especially Rangers. But it is just about what we do and we’ll concentrate on our own game.
“I’ve been watching the Bundesliga and there is a part of it I am struggling to get my head around. The players are in contact training each day, they are then in contact throughout the 90 minutes of games – yet the subs are sitting two metres apart. That’s the bit I don’t get. It’s weird.
“But, listen, there have been some really good games and I think everyone is just looking forward to getting matches back on to the TV.
“It’s the guidance and as long as everyone complies, sport will come back quicker than if they don’t.
“The quicker the fans get back to enjoying their teams playing football, the better.
“The game is all about the fans and, regardless of whether it is a home game or an away game, you want people there.
“There are often more Celtic fans at our away games than there are for the home team.
“We want them back, but we need to comply with the government and we know our fans will be behind us even if they are not inside the stadium and are watching on the TV. If you see practice matches at training it’s usually 11 v 11 with coaches standing at the side of the pitch – so it’s not going to be totally unusual.
“Of course, it will be different, but it is just going to be about going out and playing the games.
“It’s about getting three points or getting through to the next round of a competition. That’ll be the outlook and that’ll be the focus.
“Hopefully, at the end of the season, we’ll be history-makers again.”