Saturday 21 April 2018

Match-winner Griffiths ready for tough task against PSG

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with match-winner Leigh Griffiths after the final whistle. Photo: PA
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with match-winner Leigh Griffiths after the final whistle. Photo: PA

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Leigh Griffiths' stunning free-kick winner against Ross County on Saturday continued Celtic's domestic dominance but he acknowledged a much tougher midweek task in Europe.

The Scotland striker came off the bench in the second half at the Global Energy Stadium as the Hoops struggled to break down a resolute Staggies defence.

And his strike from 30 yards in the 78th minute gave the visitors a 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win and extended Celtic's unbeaten run in Scotland to 64 games while taking them six points clear of Aberdeen.

Next up in a busy schedule of fixtures is a trip to France to play Paris Saint-Germain, who won 5-0 when they visited Parkhead in September.

Griffiths is hoping Celtic put on a better show on Wednesday night but said: "They are favourites to win the competition and rightly so.

"They have been on fire. After they beat us, they went and beat Bayern Munich 3-0.

Celtic's Kieran Tierney and Ross County's Michael Garden collide. Photo: PA
Celtic's Kieran Tierney and Ross County's Michael Garden collide. Photo: PA

"We know how hard it is going to be but that is why we are in this competition, we want to go and compete against the best and if we get beat, we get beat and we will take it on the chin.

Performance

"But we look to try and get a result."

Griffiths returned to action after recovering from a calf injury and finds himself again in a fight for a starting place with Moussa Dembele, who scored a hat-trick in 12 minutes for France Under-21s earlier in the week.

Celtic's Michael Lustig (left), tackles Ross County's Davis Keillor-Dun. Photo: PA
Celtic's Michael Lustig (left), tackles Ross County's Davis Keillor-Dun. Photo: PA

He said: "Moussa has come back and he has been on fire again.

"It shows how hard he has worked to get back fit.

"If I wasn't injured last week maybe I would have got a goal or two then.

"I have been working with the physios to get back as quickly as I can and I showed I am still here.

"We have a big week.

Celtic's Scott Sinclair goes on a run with Ross County's Andrew Davies in pursuit. Photo: PA
Celtic's Scott Sinclair goes on a run with Ross County's Andrew Davies in pursuit. Photo: PA

"The manager will take into consideration we have a (Betfred) cup final (against Motherwell) at the end of the week so it will be a difficult choice for him to make.

"But anyone who starts the game will more than deserve to play."

County boss Owen Coyle took encouragement from his side's performance against the league leaders.

He said: "Nobody enjoys losing games but that group of players gave everything and if they continue to do that - you don't play against Glasgow Celtic every week - there is going to be a lot of points available to us.

Leigh Griffiths (left) celebrates with Dedryck Boyata, Kieran Tierney and Scott Brown after scoring Celtic's winning goal. Photo: PA
Leigh Griffiths (left) celebrates with Dedryck Boyata, Kieran Tierney and Scott Brown after scoring Celtic's winning goal. Photo: PA

"We need to make sure we get to the same standard we got to on Saturday."

Irish Independent

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