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  • Leigh Griffiths: I'm just delighted to help the team win

    Leigh Griffiths: I'm just delighted to help the team win

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 04 Oct, 2020 16:31

  • CELTIC’S bench played a key role in the 2-0 victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park today (Sunday), with Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala scoring the late goals to take all three points, while Scott Brown, Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic all played their part in the victory.

    It was Leigh Griffiths’ first outing since early March, when he netted a hat-trick in a 5-0 victory over St Mirren, a match that ultimately proved to be the last fixture of the 2019/20 season.

    And in the 14 minutes he was on the park in Perth, having replaced Odsonne Edouard, the striker did what he does best – put the ball in the back of the net. His header from a precise Hatem Elhamed cross gave Neil Lennon’s side the lead, while Klimala added a second just over a minute later.

    Not surprisingly, Griffiths was delighted to be back on the pitch and scoring again for Celtic, though he was more pleased with the victory.

    Speaking to Celtic TV after the game, Griffiths said: “I always say that it’s about the team, getting the three points and maintaining our momentum. Luckily for me, I got some minutes on the pitch and I managed to put one away. We just had to keep battering away and break them down.

    “It’s a squad game. It’s not just about the starting XI but also about the boys coming off the bench as well. There was myself, Patryk, Ryan and Tom, while Broony came on as well and calmed us down and got us on the front foot again. So credit to all the subs, but it’s a team game and we want to keep the momentum going.”

    The breakthrough goal came in the 90th minute, as Celtic laid siege to the St Johnstone goal in search of an opener. Kris Ajer showed some great footwork down the right before sliding the ball into Elhamed’s path, and the Israeli internationalist’s perfect cross was met by the head of Griffiths, leaving St Johnstone keeper, Zander Clark with no chance.

    “To be fair, I saw big Kris and I thought he was going to put it in the box,” said the goalscorer, “but Hatem made the run outside and put it on a plate, and I just closed my eyes and hoped for the best.

    “I thought the defender was going to smash me, but I just got my head to the ball first and managed to get it in. And then, a couple of minutes later, Patryk scored a great solo goal.

    “I was buzzing just to come on and try to help the team get the three points. It’s always a nice feeling to score goals but the most important thing is to get the win going into the international break now.”

    Celtic head into the international break unbeaten in the Premiership, with eight wins and a draw from their opening nine fixtures.

    When they return, the Hoops face a busy week of fixtures, with the Glasgow derby at Celtic Park followed by a Europa League tie against AC Milan and an away trip to take on Aberdeen. Leigh Griffiths is desperate to play his part in those games and, indeed, all the games over the course of the campaign.

    “We’ve got massive games coming up after the international break now, with the big one against Rangers and then AC Milan,” he said. “These are the games you want to be involved in, and now it’s for me to get my fitness up over the next couple of weeks and I’ll look forward to those games.”

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