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‘I WANT TO BE BIG NOISE AT HAMPDEN,’ GRIFFITHS

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LEIGH GRIFFITHS is determined to be the big noise when Celtic face Sevco Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final next month.

Last season’s 40-goal man, who has yet to score against the Ibrox outfit this term, was raging when he was denied what he thought was a stonewall penalty-kick in Sunday’s 1-1 draw.

And his mood wasn’t lifted with the singing and cheering from the visiting supporters only a minute or so afterwards.

“They were celebrating as though they had won the league,” said Griffiths, who has claimed 13 goals this time out.

Now the Scotland international striker wants to have the final say when the clubs meet for the fifth derby confrontation of the campaign at Hampden on April 23.

He said: “There will be a lot of hype again now.

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“Rangers (sic) fans will all get a bit excited, thinking that they can come and do exactly the same to us in the semi-final as they did last season.

“But that was probably our worst performance of the season last year – and it took the game going to penalties for us to lose it.

“Again, you would have to say that Sunday’s game wouldn’t have been anywhere the level that we have shown throughout the season.

“We know we are capable of playing so much better than that.

“You saw the Rangers (sic) fans after the game.

“They would have snapped anyone’s hand off for a point before they came to Celtic Park.”It just makes us all the more determined to try and get our focus back and keep moving towards the title and see where we are next month when we play at Hampden.”

Griffiths is still upset referee Bobby Madden didn’t award the Hoops a last-gasp spot-kick when he was sent crashing by Ibrox veteran defender Clint Hill.

He added: “I’ll keep saying it – I am not going to pass up an opportunity to shoot from there.
“I would fancy myself to hit the target from that position every time.“If you watch it back, you can see I am about to shoot and he has caught me at waist height.

“That is a foul anywhere else on the park because he kicks me off my balance.
unspecified-8“It was frustrating because I would score from there, I am sure of it. It was disappointing.”

 Griffiths sat out the first Glasgow derby of the season in September through injury.
Moussa Dembele took over the main striking role and rattled in a hat-trick in the runaway 5-1 triumph with Stuart Armstrong and Scott Sinclair adding the other two.
Griffiths came on as a second-half substitute for Tom Rogic when the French Under-21 international frontman claimed the only goal of the game in the League Cup semi-final the following month.
He didn’t make an appearance, though, when strikes from Dembele and Sinclair gave Brendan Rodgers’ men a 2-1 victory at Ibrox on Hogmanay.
Armstrong got the champions’ goal at the weekend before making way for Griffiths with 17 minutes still to play.
The 26-year-old marksman is eager to shoot himself into his manager’s plans with 10 Premiership games and the possibility of two Scottish Cup-tie to play before the curtain comes down an eventful campaign.
He added: “I just want to play as often as I can.
“It has been frustrating all season. I want to make a difference and I feel I can make a difference, whether that be coming off the bench or starting games.
“It is all about getting a wee run. I have come on as a sub over the last two weeks and, hopefully, I am still in the manager’s plans and thoughts for Dens Park on Sunday.”
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