FRANK McAVENNIE insists Leigh Griffiths is ready to make an impact in the season’s crucial run-in.
The former Celtic striker believes the comeback Bhoy will relish the opportunity of proving himself all over again during the enforced absence of hamstring victim Moussa Dembele.
Griffiths hammered in 40 goals last season, but has had to be content with 14 this time out while the French Under-21 ace has claimed a career-best 32.
But Macca is backing the Scotland international to shine in the remaining games. He said: “With good players, you look at them and think: ‘He’s enticing them in, he’s nutmegging them, he’s in the mood’.
“When I saw him last Sunday I thought he was right at it again. His arrogance was there for all to see again.
“Good strikers have all got that – a wee swagger about them. Dembele has it, Charlie Nicholas had it, we all had it.
“That’s because they know they can do what they do. That was back again in Leigh’s body-language.
“For whatever reason, he had to win the manager over again, but he’s back in now on merit.
“He still has a chance of being a huge part of a team that could be remembered for winning the treble and could be the first to do so while unbeaten.
“What an achievement that would be.”
CAN CELTIC WIN THE TREBLE?
CELTIC are having an unbelievably good season under new manager Brendan Rodgers with the Bhoys on target for a domestic treble, a first since Martin O’Neill’s team achieved that back in 2001.
This season’s trophy haul began with the Betfred League Cup in November 2016. Celtic played Aberdeen, who have established themselves as the second force in Scottish football, behind the Champions! Celtic emerged with a comfortable 3-0 victory in the League Cup Final with the goals coming from Tom Rogic, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele.
Aberdeen rarely managed to threaten goalkeeper Craig Gordon throughout the match, managing only two goals on target. Neither caused much trouble to the big Celtic and Scotland goalie. Celtic cleaned up with two first half goals, and a third in the second half sealed the League Cup and deliver the first leg of the Treble.
Next came the Scottish Premiership as Celtic strolled to the title without losing a single game. This is an incredible unbeaten run even for Celtic. The Bhoys have consistently outclassing their opponents in every league game and were also the better team in the games that were drawn. The total record as it stands is 29 wins and 4 draws out of 33 games, and they may finish the season without a loss.
The title was secured after Celtic crushed Hearts 0-5 in an epic away game on Saturday 2 April. Three goals from Scotty Sinclair, as well as one each from Stuart Armstrong and Paddy Roberts secured the win, and left the Celtic supporters celebrating long into the night.
Celtic now have 91 points, and are 24 points clear of second place Aberdeen. It is a crushing Premiership display by the Bhoys that has made sure that the six in a row title has been delivered with maximum style and impact and so the second step to the Treble is on the bag.
So Celtic are one of the first names in the hat for the Champions League Qualifiers for next year, and could end up competing with the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, who are current joint favourites to win the Big Cup this year. We never tire of reminding people that Celtic on it 50 years ago!
The only question for Celtic now, at least where their Premiership record is concerned, is whether they can manage to finish the league season undefeated. Given their current record, this looks pretty likely, but they do have tough games left against Aberdeen and Hearts, as well as facing St Johnstone and Patrick in end of season matches. First up though is a trip to face Sevco Rangers at ibrox tomorrow morning.
So Celtic have already secured a double, but they also have one more trophy to lift this season, if they can overcome Aberdeen once more to take home the Scottish Cup on Saturday 27 May.
Aberdeen will be motivated to win this game, especially given their loss to Celtic in the League Cup Final. They will see this as their biggest opportunity this season, and should be aiming for a better performance than they delivered in November’s Final. Their efforts could be aided if Moussa Dembele’s recent injury, will rule him out of the final. Paddy Roberts too could miss the game due to international duties with England but Celtic will do all they can to ensure that he is at Hampden.
Celtic have the quality and the quantity in their squad to cope with these problems for the Scottish Cup Final. If Dembele is out then Leigh Griffiths, who scored 40 goals for the club last season, will step in. And Scotland international James Forrest will be in the team if Roberts isn’t available due to the international tournament.
Celtic are a team very much on form and high in confidence. Despite fatigue being a factor as the season draws to a close, they are strong favourites to win the Scottish Cup, and in the process compete an historic Treble for the club in this very special season.