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  • Griffiths targeting more games and goals as Celts chase treble

    Griffiths targeting more games and goals as Celts chase treble

    By: Mark Henderson on 16 Apr, 2015 10:48

  • LEIGH Griffiths reckons he is reaping the rewards of boosting his fitness levels after the striker inspired Celtic to a 4-1 comeback victory over Kilmarnock last night with a quick-fire hat-trick.

    Kris Commons had just cancelled out Darryl Westlake’s opener for the visitors when the hit-man entered the fray on the hour-mark.

    He only took five minutes to turn the match around for the Bhoys, heading home Kris Commons’ cross.

    Griffiths killed off the Rugby Park side’s resistance with a sizzling strike from 25 yards that thundered in via the post as goalkeeper Craig Samson stood helpless.

    And he completed his treble in the closing minutes, slotting in a calm and composed finish after springing the visitors’ offside trap in the closing stages.

    It was tremendous individual performance from the former Hibs man and his efforts ultimately meant the Hoops moved eight points clear in the title race, getting back on track having only managed a share of the spoils against Inverness Caley Thistle on Saturday.

    And the 24-year-old admitted his upturn in fortunes since the halfway point in the campaign was down towards a change in mindset.

    “I had to improve,” he said. “I wasn’t playing at the start of the season and I had a talk with the manager and John Collins about what they wanted me to do.

    “In those two months, I have knuckled down, worked hard and they are seeing the rewards. I had to work harder in the gym, work harder in training and get my fitness levels up. I have done that and since the turn of the year I have been bang on form.

    “When I was at Hibs, I was probably the first name on the teamsheet with my goals but this is a massive club and the new manager coming in also wanted a new philosophy.

    “With playing one up front you have to work hard and my fitness levels weren’t up to standard but since the turn of the year, my fitness levels have been good, I have been playing well and scoring goals.

    “It was just good to get the win,” continued the Scotland internationalist. “We were disappointed on Saturday to draw and last night we suffered a minor setback by going 1-0 down but the boys hit back in the right way.

    “All the goals were my favourite. The first one was a good ball into the box and I managed to head it downwards into the goal. The second one went in off the post and I was just waiting the whistle to go for being offside for the third one, but thankfully it never came and I have played it back across the goalkeeper.

    “I was brought here to score goals and thankfully since the turn of the year I have started to do that. It’s only my third hat-trick in football. My second hat-trick came against Inverness last season.

    "I want a run of games. I want to be starting every game between now and the end of the season and try to hit as many goals as I can.”

    Griffiths will now be attempting to add to his 15 goals for the champions this season in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness Caley Thistle as Ronny Deila’s side seek to keep their treble dreams alive.

    He has a favourable record in last-four clashes in the competition but recognises that the Highlanders will pose a severe test.

    “I have played two and won two so hopefully that can continue, but Inverness will come and make it difficult for us,” said the striker. “They proved that at the weekend. They are hard to beat and every game has been tight against them and I’m expecting the same on Sunday.

    “I will be looking to score again on Sunday but the most important thing is to get to the Scottish Cup final. We are doing well in the league, we are eight points clear again and we want to go for that treble.

    “There is still a long way to go. We have difficult games coming up, especially Sunday. Inverness are standing in our way of potentially a very good season.”

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