Football/Soccer

Celtic star Griffiths hits back at Rangers chairman's 'ludicrous' claim

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths was bemused by criticism from Rangers chairman Dave King. 

Leigh Griffiths has told Dave King he is talking nonsense after the Rangers chairman claimed Celtic should be further ahead of his Ibrox side.

Toppling Brendan Rodgers' rampant Hoops proved a task beyond every Scottish side last year as the Parkhead men completed their 47-game domestic season unbeaten.

Celtic's 'Invincibles' wrapped up their first treble since 2001 and finished an astonishing 39 points ahead of their rivals from across Glasgow in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Yet King claims Rangers' Old Firm foes are not "as far ahead as they could have been".

The Ibrox chief, who has provided boss Pedro Caixinha with funds to bring in eight new players this summer, was reported by several newspapers as saying: "Given that we were in the wilderness for four years I don't think Celtic did as much in that four years as they could have done.

"We are clearly behind them squad-wise but I really would expect to give them a run."

But that sparked a stunned response from Celtic frontman Griffiths.

He said: "What was the gulf, 30-odd points? How big does he expect it to be?

"They were touting at the start of this year that they were going to win the league and this and that. Joey Barton was coming up to be the best player in Scotland.

"He only lasted a few months. The first game they got hammered 5-1, they got hammered 5-1 in the last game of the season. The gulf couldn't be any bigger.

"They will be trying this season to bridge the gap but for (King) to come out and say we should be further ahead is ludicrous really.

"Thirty-odd points is mad and if you said to somebody at the start of last season that Rangers would finish that far behind, they'd be raging.

"We just want to concentrate on our job and that is to defend that title."

Fired-up Griffiths was speaking at the official launch event for the new Ladbrokes Premiership fixtures.

His side will kick-off their quest for seven-in-a-row at home to Hearts on August 5.

Caixinha's new-look Light Blues will get their first chance to prove they have cut the gap to their bitter foes when the first Old Firm clash takes place at Ibrox on September 23.

But Griffiths fully expects his team to dominate once again.

"Rangers, Aberdeen, St Johnstone - they are all tough games," he said. "Ultimately it's about what we do and if we're at our best no-one in Scotland can live with us.

"That's the be all and end all.

"Yes there will be difficult games - away to Rangers, away to Aberdeen, away to Hibs, away to St Johnstone, away to Hearts. They always are.

"But we proved last year we can go to these places, win and win comfortably."

Football/Soccer

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