Friday 9 December 2016

Griffiths treble puts bhoys eight points clear

Published 16/04/2015 | 02:30

Celtic Leigh Griffiths celebrates with John Guidetti (top) during their Scottish Premiership match against Kilmarnock at Celtic Park last night
Celtic Leigh Griffiths celebrates with John Guidetti (top) during their Scottish Premiership match against Kilmarnock at Celtic Park last night

Substitute Leigh Griffiths helped himself to a quickfire second-half hat-trick as Celtic came from behind to beat Kilmarnock 4-1 at Parkhead and go eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

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Following a dull first 45 minutes in which the visitors barely crossed the halfway line, Killie defender Darryl Westlake stunned the Hoops support when he fired the Ayrshire men ahead in the 50th minute with a deflected drive.

Midfielder Kris Commons levelled for the chastened home side eight minutes later and Griffiths immediately replaced James Forrest before netting three goals in a remarkable 19-minute spell to increase the advantage over Aberdeen with six games left.

Celtic had dominated until a rare Killie foray up the park when Westlake fired in a drive which came off a Hoops body before flying low past the hitherto unemployed Craig Gordon.

The atmosphere changed and the Bhoys laid siege to the Killie goal and in the 58th minute Commons fired in the from the edge of the box to ease nerves.

Griffiths immediately replaced Forrest and in the 66th minute Commons set him up with a fine cross for the former Wolves striker to head in the second.

Commons was in the mood, forcing a good save from Killie goalkeeper Craig Samson, and the visitors then had to defend a series of corners, in unconvincing fashion.

The Killie keeper was again called into action, parrying a powerful Commons drive with Stefan Johansen lashing the rebound behind.

But Samson had no chance in the 80th minute when Griffiths thundered in a shot from 25 yards. Five minutes later, Griffiths burst through and calmly slotted past Samson.

In the English Championship, Watford guaranteed at least a play-off spot with a 3-1 victory against Nottingham Forest.

Irish Independent

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