Leigh Griffiths optimistic on Celtic Nine in a Row stars staying as he underlines 'perfect scenario'
The striker is hopeful that his team-mates who are destined for bigger things stay for one more year.by Craig Swan, https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/authors/craig-swan/
Leigh Griffiths reckons the biggest danger to Celtic’s Ten in a Row bid is themselves.
And the Parkhead striker is backing the heroes of Nine to stick around to help try and secure the landmark next title.
Griffiths and his team-mates have turned their attentions to next term’s quest having been confirmed as 2019/20 champions a week ago.
Neil Lennon’s squad have won a staggering 11 successive domestic trophies and the determination is there for the run to be extended into the future.
Griffiths knows rivals will be gunning for the champions next season as they look to halt the green-and-white juggernaut.
However, the attacker is convinced the quality within the ranks is such that only a drop in standards at Celtic will allow opponents to go beyond them.
He said: “I think it will be very difficult for teams to stop us.
Sign up to our Record Celtic newsletter
Get all the latest Celtic news sent straight to your Inbox every day by signing up to our newsletter.
We cover every morsel of information regarding your favourite club in the form of articles, videos and podcasts.
The newsletter will arrive every day at 12pm, giving you a round up of the best stories we've covered that in the last 24 hours.
To sign up, simply enter your email address into the link here.
“But you know, let’s see them have a go. Aberdeen, Hibs, Motherwell and Rangers especially will all be trying to stop us.
“It’s all about us. If we bring our A-game to 90-95 per cent of the games it’s going to be very difficult for teams.”
Lennon has suggested that there will be few changes within the group over the summer before the resumption and Griffiths believes his colleagues will all want to be in place to make history.
He added: “Our players will always be linked with moves elsewhere.
“Callum (McGregor), James (Forrest), Odsonne (Edouard). They will all be linked with big-money moves.
“It’s not to say they don’t deserve it, they do as they’ve been at the top of their game for so long now.
“But I think it will be in their heads to stay for one more season, get to the 10 and leave with everybody’s best wishes. That would be the perfect scenario.”
Griffiths is preparing to head into a seventh season with Celtic and insists he feels fortunate to be in such a position.
At the age of 29, the hitman is now firmly established within the set-up having been signed by Lennon for £1 million in January 2014.
Griffiths has bagged over 100 goals during his Hoops career, but did confess coming through a crossroads at the start of this year.
Having missed a lengthy spell out through injury in the first-half of last term having come back from his off-field issues, the frontman needed to prove himself again to Lennon.
Griffiths put in the hard yards during the winter camp in Dubai and returned in flying form as a partner to Edouard as the champions ramped up their surge towards the ninth successive title.
He told BT Sport: “The first couple of months when I came back were great. It was good being back involved with the boys, but then I got injured and you struggle to get your fitness back.
“There were a lot of rumours about stuff, that you might be moved on. January was the crossroads for me.
“If I hadn’t gone away and worked hard in Dubai and showed the manager I wanted to be here and force my way into the side, it could have been a whole different story.
“It just goes to show how good my mental strength is. To go to Dubai, work hard and get fitter by the day.
“When I got my chance, I was ready to be called upon and I put in the performances that kept my place in the team.
“Going away we had a few days to reflect on the defeat.
“Then we had a team meeting before the first training session in Dubai.
“It was said that we might need to go unbeaten from now until the end of the season to make sure we are champions.
“After that it was about topping up the fitness as much as we could, and also enjoying ourselves as well.
“You need to remember that we’d played 40-odd games by the turn of the year.
“Boys were running on empty a bit so we had to relax in Dubai, but also put the work in.
“When we came back it was like we had a new lease of life. We just blitzed teams along the way.”
Griffiths signed off for the season with a hat-trick against St Mirren in the final match before the Covid-19 closure and admits it’s special to be part of such as astounding time in the club’s history, even if the winning of this term's title had a different feel in the fact there was no on-pitch party with team-mates due to the shutdown and early curtailment of the campaign.
He said: “I was surprised to get my move in the first place, but to be here six years later on nine and on the cusp of ten is something you can only dream of.
“When I first arrived, the fans were singing for ten and you don’t really believe it. Now we do believe.
“It just felt weird. It didn’t feel like we’d won it yet as we weren’t parading it in front of the fans at Celtic Park.”