Team News: Gordon in goals, 97 goal Griffiths set to start

LEIGH GRIFFITHS is in line from his first start since scoring the winner against Hibs at Celtic Park at the end of January then going off injured. And goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who was also injured in that match, is also back tomorrow and will jump ahead of Dorus de Vries to replace on loan star Scott Bain – who can’t play against his parent club.

We talked about this goalkeeping position this morning and Brendan Rodgers will now have to have a long, hard think before deciding on his goalkeeper for the semi-final of the Scottish Cup against Rangers.

Brendan Rodgers confirmed this afternoon that Bain is ineligible and that the plan was to play Craig Gordon, barring any last minute set-backs.

“We are just going to check with Craig to make sure everything is ok but he’s been back in training and if he declares himself ready then he will play,” Brendan said.

Will Bain be back for Hamilton or will Gordon retain his place? The competition for the gloves is certainly hotting up.

Rodgers is clearly a big fan of Scott Bain, and talked him up once again today, signaling that a contract is about to be sorted.

“He’s shown all the attributes in his short time here. He’s definitely someone we want to keep here long term. Hopefully his representatives and the club can organise a deal for him to be here.”

Meanwhile at the other end of the park, Leigh Griffiths was re-introduced to first team action from the bench on Saturday against the ten men of Ross County. He would have hoped to have had some easy pickings but it was not to be with Armstrong and Rogic the only two Celts to get on the score sheet after the sending off.

It would have been nice to to have scored a handful more to really punish the thug who assaulted Scott Brown.

The SFA’s Compliance Officer – although it has been reported that he will not use his powers to increase the ban from the standard two games for violent conduct – must surely reconsider. That challenge illustrated all that was wrong with the Scottish game and it cannot be allowed to go without the appropriate punishment being applied. Davies would be looking at a 6 to 8 game ban as that would send out a message.

Brendan added some comments about our skipper today and it’s hard to disagree with a word he said.

“I think what rarely gets talked about is what a good player he is. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in the Championship and top end of the Premier League. This is a player that would go right in at the top end of the Premier League,” declared the Celtic gaffer.

“Tactically he’s so good. His ability to read the game, be in the positions to recover the ball, to make the attack. We should try and emulate what his qualities are. If we can produce Scottish players like that then you’d have some really good players.”

Anyway, where were we? Leigh Griffiths is back and looks likely to be in the team tomorrow night.

He is 3 goals short of a reaching his own personal century of goals for the Hoops and don’t bet on him having to wait much longer to smash through that particular personal barrier.

“I’m feeling really good. It’s been a difficult couple of months and with the help I’ve had with the sports science team, my fitness has come right back,” Griff said today, while realising that there may still be some match sharpness needing to be gained.

Griffiths is fit again too!

“It’s difficult to tell because I need a run of games for that. The only way to do that is working hard in training and trying to catch manager’s eye,’ Griffiths stating adding that he’s delighted to be injury free.

“It’s a huge relief. A big weight off my shoulders. I can just concentrate on the football now and try and get back in the team.”

The match against Dundee is a real opportunity for the 97 goal Celtic number 9.

His boss, who also revealed that Kieran Tierney will remain sidelined, is expecting a tough challenge for the visitors.

“We expect it to be tough. They had a good result on Sunday, so it’s going to be a good game for us. It’s also going to be a tough game for them. We are off the back of playing well with good fluency and energy back in the team.

“Kieran will rejoin training towards the end of the week, he’s out with the medical team and looking very strong. He should be back training Thursday.”

“The incentive for us is to go and get the three points and move closer to the title. We’ve seen the teams around us dropping points recently, so we just need to keep going.

“The most important thing is helping the team get three points but if I can chip in with a couple more goals, that would be great,” Leigh said.

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The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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