16 Jan Take a bow Leigh
There is a moment when you have to take a step back, applaud and say, well done son.
On Friday night, it arrived in the 21st minute when Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths scored his 50th goal for the club in his 60th start.
The 25 year old deserves his place in the club’s history books, joining a small band of players who’ve reached the half-century in under 100 appearances.
Is he worthy of standing alongside Charlie Nicholas, Pierre van Hooijdonk, John Hartson, Brian McClair, Gary Hooper, Andy Walker, Henrik Larsson and Scott McDonald?
The stats say yes, the argument over quality is great for supporters in pubs and clubs up and down the country.
Let’s deal with the plaudits first; here is a 25-year old boy, still growing up, who looked on his way out at Celtic just over a year ago.
He couldn’t get a regular start and was charged with singing an unsavoury song about Rudi Skacel in an Edinburgh pub.
I thought his time was up.
If there is a lesson for young footballers to take from this ‘Hibs daft’ player, it is his ability to knuckle down and fight for his place and his future, when all seemed lost.
He divides opinion on whether he’s good enough for an International start, the Celtic fans say he is, the Scotland manager Gordon Strachan says he isn’t, yet.
What you can say about Griffiths is Celtic are lucky to have him right now. He is papering over the cracks of a mediocre team under Ronny Deila, and remains one of the few shining lights bringing a smile to the fans when match-day arrives.
The downside, for me, is he is scoring goals in an inferior league against players that are well below the standard that the aforementioned Celtic players entered the ’50 club’ against over the previous three decades.
There is no doubt he can improve as a player, whether that can rekindle interest from down south once more, I’m not so sure.
Griffiths’ last stint in England didn’t start a stampede for his services and this renaissance has merely prompted Celtic to cover their backside with a deal until 2020, just in case the cash rich clubs in the Championship and below decide to test the water.
Leigh Griffiths is not anywhere near the class of a Charlie Nicholas or a Henrik Larsson, but comparisons are unfair on the current Celtic striker.
He can only deal with what’s in front of him now and try his best to do a job for Celtic, regardless of the disdain for the strengths of the league he is playing in.
The history books on January 15th 2016 show Leigh Griffiths with 51 goals from 60 starts and 26 sub appearances.
That deserves a round of applause, well done son.