I have been an admirer of Leigh Griffiths for a long time. His attitude off the pitch is questionable with his well documented fitness issues, but on the field of play his effort is spot on. My argument has often been that I’d rather an unfit Griffiths giving it 100%, than a fully fit Edouard who hasn’t been interested.
It goes without saying that Odsonne Edouard is a more talented all round player, but Griffiths is the best goalscorer at the club. He has hit the back of the net in the SPFL, the domestic cups, the Europa League and the Champions League. No matter the level, Griffiths knows how to score. In fact, if memory serves me correctly then Leigh has a goal per game ratio of about 80% when you discount sub appearances.
This season hasn’t gone very well at all. However, had it not been for Griffiths’ goals against St Johnstone and Aberdeen, then we could be in an even worse position. Yesterday, when Neil Lennon needed someone to win the cup, he turned to his proven goalscorer. Griffiths always drags defenders to places they don’t want to go, creating spaces and opportunities in the process. Then, the moment that sent us all delirious arrived as he produced an instinctive finish from close range to put Celtic 3-2 ahead in extra time.
Hearts came back again, courtesy of questionable defending, so it was down to a penalty shoot out. It’s a great source of comfort to see the likes of Griffiths and McGregor standing over the ball. As expected, both converted emphatically.
Celtic won the cup thanks to a few players and, in truth, luck. But Leigh Griffiths once again proved that no matter what you say about his conduct away from the pitch, no matter the doubts over his fitness, if you just play him then he will score on any stage.
In a season when we have struggled to break down defences, Griffiths would be the first name on the team sheet. After all, bleep tests don’t score goals, top strikers do, and throughout this season with his fitness woes, Griff has continued to find the net when given the chance.