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McDONALD HAILS GRIFFITHS

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SCOTT McDONALD has hailed Leigh Griffiths’ role in shooting Celtic to a fourth successive title.
The former Hoops striker, who scored 65 goals in three years before joining Gordon Strachan’s Middlesbrough in 2010, has been blown away by the form of the 19-goal attack ace.
McDonald, involved in the battle at the foot of the table with Motherwell, said: “Players peaked at the right time which helped Celtic while it was so important to find a central striker.
“John Guidetti did quite well earlier in season, but Leigh Griffiths, in the second half of the campaign, has been phenomenal.
“He started banging in the goals and he’s still scoring. Griffiths is the No.1 choice now.
“There is little doubt that it assisted Celtic that they finally found their recognised striker.
“Kris Commons played his part, too. It was a plus that he signed his new deal.
“There were questions earlier and that can be unsettling. There was a lot of speculation on one player and that doesn’t help.
“Then they put that particular situation to bed and, once that was done, Celtic saw the benefits.”
The former Aussie international also applauded his old club for keeping faith with Ronny Deila after an erratic start to his career at Parkhead.
He said: “The manager has taken the team in a different direction from where they were heading under Neil Lennon. Every Celtic team has its own DNA and I think this one certainly has its own identity.
“It has taken a bit of time to get there, but they are reaping the rewards now. Yes, they had a few ups and downs and some rocky moments early on.
“However, it was great they stuck with Ronny Deila and, in the end, they got it right. The players started to buy into what he was trying to do and went from strength to strength as the season progressed.
“With Rangers (sic) not being in the top flight, it was a different type of pressure. You’re always thinking other teams around about you will drop points.
“So, you could say there is less pressure on the Celtic manager, but the fans and, of course, the board still expect the team to win every match.
“That’s the expectations levels that are always at a club like Celtic.”
McDonald revealed Stefan Johansen was another Hoops star to catch his eye since his return from Millwall as a free agent in February.
He added: “I thought the Norwegian was outstanding in his midfield role. In fact, he got my vote for Player of the Year this season.
“In my opinion, Stefan thoroughly deserved the award.”
 
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