LEIGH GRIFFITHS was looking forward to the Premiership visit to Ibrox on Sunday March 15.
However, the 29-year-old striker, who had just netted a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over St Mirren to take his goal tally to eight in 2020, had his hopes scuppered when football went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Griffiths was eager to get the nod from Neil Lennon to face Steven Gerrard’s Govan outfit and wasn’t slow to put forward his claims, as CQN reported two months ago.
“Am I ready for Ibrox?” he said. “I was born for Ibrox. I’ve never been beaten there with Celtic. I’ve started twice and scored twice in two victories.”
One of those triumphs came on April 29 2017 when Griffiths joined in the frolics with a net-bursting angled drive that exploded over the head of the bemused Wes Foderingham as the Hoops eased to a 5-1 win. It was an action replay of the first league meeting of the season at Parkhead in September when Moussa Dembele thumped in an unstoppable hat-trick and Scott Sinclair and Stuart Armstrong added the others.
In Govan, seven months later, Sinclair got the ball rolling when he slotted in an unerring penalty-kick after only seven minutes, before Griffiths thundered in his whizzbang effort 11 minutes later. Callum McGregor made it three seven minutes after the turnaround, Dedryck Boyata claimed the fourth in the 66th minute and Mikael Lustig completed an amazing solo run with No.5 three minutes from time.
Reflecting on that Ibrox avalanche, Griffiths, speaking on the Celtic View Podcast, said: “The 5-1 game at Celtic Park that season will be remembered for Moussa’s hat-trick and the first game against Rangers back in the league.
“Before the second 5-1 game, we’d played them twice in six days and we’d beaten them in the semi-final at Hampden.
“At Ibrox, I think the 5-1 scoreline was flattering for them, because the amount of chances we missed in the first-half was ridiculous.
”It could have been five at half-time. But to go to your rivals on their own backyard and beat them 5-1, as easily as we did, I think that was a day for the fans that they’ll never forget.
“For me as well, going there and winning 5-1 so easily, it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played in.”