Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths keen to get back amongst the goals

Celtic striker Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring his side's second goal in their 2-0 win over Hamilton on Saturday Picture: PA
Liam Maguire

Leigh Griffiths looked forward to getting back on the Celtic goal trail after coming off the bench against Hamilton on Saturday.

The Hoops striker has struggled with calf injuries this season and manager Brendan Rodgers recently revealed his determination to get Griffiths up to speed before another comeback, saying "when he's playing and fit, Leigh's very good but can still work harder in training."

The 26-year-old got the last 20 minutes at Parkhead against Accies, replacing Moussa Dembele after the French striker had scored both goals in what turned out to be a comfortable 2-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win.

It was Griffiths' second substitute appearance since starting in the 2-0 win over Ross County on December 28, but he could not to add to his 13-goal tally this season despite some promising attacks.

However, he is confident the goals will come with more game-time.

"Being injured is so frustrating. Everyone has been talking about if there is a rift between the gaffer and me after what he said, but it is great to be back on the pitch, back amongst the boys and in the match-day squad," said Griffiths.

"Earlier in the season they (attacks that broke down) would probably have come off but I am just lacking a bit of match fitness just now.

"But hopefully in the coming weeks I will get more and more game-time and hopefully I am back amongst the goals."

Celtic extended their unbeaten domestic run since the start of the season to 32 games.

The only points the champions have dropped were in a 2-2 draw at Inverness in September and they remain 24 points clear of second-placed Aberdeen

Rodgers was pleased to see Griffiths back to bolster Celtic's goal threat, but was just as happy with the way his side set about the less glamorous aspects of the game.

He said: "It is nearly 20 years to the day that I qualified as young coach and got my first badge and over those 20 years I have watched videos, read, analysed games, hundreds of games, and what I have learned in that period is that the greatest principle you can have in football is denying the opponent space.

"The players counter-pressed the game and didn't allow any moment for Hamilton to make any real sequence of passes – and they have some real technical players – so they deserve a huge amount of credit in terms of how hard they are working.

"They are so many points ahead and they are still showing that desire and hunger to close the space."

Hamilton held out until Dembele curled in a wonderful goal from the edge of the box just before the interval. The 20-year-old striker then added a second from the penalty spot on the hour mark for his 29th goal of the season, after left-back Kieran Tierney had been fouled by former Celt Massimo Donati.

Accies remain bottom of the league, where they found themselves for the first time this season on Friday night after Inverness beat Rangers 2-1 in the Highlands.

Boss Martin Canning was pragmatic about the Parkhead fixture as he turned his attention to the visit of in-form Aberdeen on Tuesday night.

He said: "If you can take something from it great, but nobody else has managed it this season.

"Somebody will at some point and you are hoping it is going to be you but you know it will need a lot of things to go in your favour.

"The biggest thing was to stick to the plan and we did all that and I can take plenty from it for the Aberdeen game on Tuesday."


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