LEIGH GRIFFITHS admitted he must do better, despite hammering in a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Spanish top-flight side SD Eibar at the weekend.
The livewire striker is hoping to get the nod to lead the attack against Stjarnan in Iceland tomorrow night as Celtic prepare to reach the next stage of the Champions League qualifiers, already 2-0 ahead from the first leg.
Griffiths was left on the subs’ bench at the start of the Parkhead tie with new Bhoy Nadir Ciftci making his Celtic Park debut.
The Scotland international came on after the interval, but failed to convert a penalty-kick that would have made tomorrow night’s encounter a lot more comfortable.
Now he wants to build on his three-goal display in the Basque region. He said: “I was disappointed with myself during the first-half against Eibar.
“I slipped in Darnell Fisher when I should have had a shot, but in the second-half I managed to put a penalty away after missing one against our Icelandic opponents and I got another two, so I am happy.”
Griffiths got his third goal two minutes from the end after being set up by a probing long-range pass from Virgil van Dijk – ignoring the usual tactic of making holding onto the ball a priority.
He said: “I didn’t know Virgil was going to play that pass, but when he did there was only one thing on my mind and that was to try to go for goal.
“Nine times out of 10 any other player would try to take it into a corner, but I wanted that third goal.”
The frontman added: “Overall, it was a good test for us going into tomorrow night’s tie. We beat Stjarnan last Wednesday, but I don’t think we played as well as we could have. Against Eibar, we showed what we’re all about.
“I got 90 minutes, so I’m feeling sharp, but it’s a different kettle of fish in the Champions League. Whatever team the manager goes with, we need to put in the performance, get the win and make sure we are in the next round.”
Griffiths will also have the added pressure of being the Hoops’ main man when the defence of the SPFL kicks off against Ross County in Glasgow on August 1.
Nadir Ciftci, of course, has been banned for six games after the biting incident in his last game for Dundee United in the derby encounter on the final day of the season.
The £1.3million buy from the Tayside outfit a couple of weeks ago will miss every league game in August, starting with the Dingwall side on Flag Day and then Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock, Inverness Caley Thistle, his former club Dundee United and St Johnstone.
Griffiths could be poised for an extended run in the first team with Stefan Scepovic still off the pace.
Ronny Deila could, of course, elect to beef up the attack before next month’s transfer window closes.