LEIGH GRIFFITHS thumped in a hat-trick in his last game for Celtic – and skipper Scott Brown reckons that awesome firepower WILL be unleashed as the Hoops aim for the historic 10 in a row.
The 30-year-old Scotland international striker claimed his superb trio in the final match of last season when he put St Mirren to the sword in a 5-0 victory at Parkhead on March 7.
Football went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic shortly afterwards and the champions were eventually awarded their ninth successive title while they were leading the table by 13 points with only eight games to go.
Griffiths has been in cold storage this time around after returning overweight following football’s shutdown and has yet to figure in a competitive fixture in the current campaign.
However, he did get a place on the substitutes’ bench for the 3-0 win over Hibs in the east end of Glasgow yesterday – and Brown reckons he is edging closer to his first appearance.
The Hoops captain, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “He has been working hard and he knows what’s expected of him.
“Everyone knows what he can do on the pitch. His left foot’s a wand and he’s one of the best finishers I’ve ever played with.
“So, we just need to make sure he’s matchfit and get him up to speed as quickly as possible.”
Griffiths enjoyed a close-up view of the team sparking against his one-time boyhood Edinburgh favourites as Scotland’s title kings turned around some of the criticism that has come their way following recent performances which have included odd-goal wins against St Mirren, Livingston and FC Riga.
Brown added: “I think everything just clicked, it has been coming for the last couple of weeks.
“Everyone’s on us for not scoring enough goals, but it’s all about winning games for us and maintaining that and we set a marker here to make sure we try to keep to those levels.
“It’s not going to be nice and easy every game. Everybody wants to beat us. That’s what happens when we’re champions. Everyone’s here to try and take our scalp.
“It is a long season and every game is not going to be pretty on the eye.
“When you go away to Aberdeen and Hibs and places like that, you have to make sure you scrape through.
“These lads have that winning mentality and we need to make sure that we keep going. It’s a great squad and that’s what the manager wanted. He wanted competition throughout and that’s what we’ve got.
“Every week, you’re playing for a place and last season was about 64, 65 games. There are going to be injuries and suspensions and that’s part and parcel.
“But it’s about the players who come in. It’s not just about the 11 players out there, it’s also about those working hard to get a chance, those behind the scenes who nobody sees.”
“Last year, we were fantastic in the Europa League group stages, topping one for the first time and including going to Italy and winning for the first time.
“It’s where we want to be. We want to be in the group stages. We want to be in the Champions League, but this season it wasn’t to be. So, now it’s about making sure we get into the Europa League and see how far we can go.”