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‘WHAT A TRANSFORMATION IN EUROPE,’ GRIFFITHS

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LEIGH GRIFFITHS, who replaced Moussa Dembele in the second-half of the 1-1 draw with Manchester City last night, insists Celtic’s improvement from the opening night seven-goal mauling in Barcelona is stark.

Last season’s 40-goal man, returning to the Hoops after suffering injury and illness, said: “From the start to the end of the campaign, it’s been like two different teams.

“That’s us drawn with one of the best teams in the world over two games and, on the night, we might even have got the win.

“The boys are disappointed not to have won the game. The gaffer said he is really proud of the players.

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“They left out Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne, but look at the players they brought in. Sane is worth £39million, so they are piling millions into the club trying to be one of the best football teams in the world – and we more than matched them.

“Six or eight months from now, we’ve got to show again why we deserve to be in this competition.

“We know it’s going to be tough, but with the manager, the backroom staff and the players we’ve got here and the players the manager will want to bring in, he’ll no doubt strengthen the squad and we’ll have a real crack at it next year.”

Griffiths squandered an excellent chance shortly after replacing Dembele in the 73rd minute and believes there may have been a degree of ring-rust at play.

He added: “You never know, I can’t help it if I’m injured or unwell at times.

“I was just delighted to be back on the pitch, it’s a nice feeling and, hopefully, that’s me back for good.”
Boss Brendan Rodgers could hand the Scotland international hitman a start in Friday’s Premiership encounter with Partick Thistle at Fihill.
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