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‘I FEEL ABOUT 70 to 80 PER CENT FIT,’ WARNS COMEBACK CELT

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LEIGH GRIFFITHS fired a warning to rival defences – the comeback Celtic striker reckons he is only performing at “about 70 to 80 per cent” since making his first-team return.

The Scotland international, of course, was missing for the second part of last season because of personal issues.

However, Neil Lennon has eased the 28-year-old hitman back into his plans since the summer and Griffiths has responded with his first competitive goal in 2019 with his sublime free-kick in the 5-0 Champions League qualifying win over Nomme Kalju 12 days ago.

And he followed that up with his first Premiership strike in almost nine months with his sweet left-foot drive that arrowed low into Zander Clark’s net for the champions’ seventh goal in their runaway 7-0 success over St Johnstone at a packed Parkhead on Flag Day on Saturday.

Griffiths came on as a late substitute against the Perth side and hit the ground running by also setting up Odsonne Edouard for the sixth goal with a delightful through pass that saw the £10million Frenchman race clear before rounding the exposed Clark and rolling the ball into the inviting net.

It was the perfect start to the league campaign with the Hoops eyeing nine successive championships to emulate Jock Stein’s team of 1966 to 1974 who also swept all before them as they dominated Scottish football.

Man of the match Ryan Christie stole the show with his hat-trick, but it was another giant step forward for the attacker who is clearly attempting to make up for lost time.

Griffiths, talking to the Daily Record, said: “It was easy going on in a game like that. The space had opened up, St Johnstone were getting tired and you saw the chances we created in the second-half.

“It could have been more than seven in the end, but we’ll take it.

“I feel about 70 to 80 per cent fit right now, I still have a bit to go. I am working with John Currie every day out on the training field.

“It’s about doing my stuff out there and working in the gym. The quicker I do that, the quicker I will get to 100 per cent.”

Griffiths added: “The team has more goals in it now. You could see that from the St Johnstone game.

“Ryan got three, Odsonne, Mikey and Olivier also got one and then you think of the players we have out.

“There are goals everywhere in the squad and it’s a joy to see us playing like that.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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