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‘I DON’T THINK I CAN EVER REPAY THE CLUB,’ ADMITS GRIFFITHS

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LEIGH GRIFFITHS has revealed he thought about quitting Celtic during the dark days as he fought to overcome personal issues.

However, the comeback striker dismissed the notion as quickly as it materialised and the 29-year-old Scotland international admitted he didn’t think he could ever repay the Hoops for the faith they showed in him.

Griffiths has made scored four goals in his six outings since the turn of the year and is once again showing what he can deliver for Neil Lennon and the eight in a row champions.

The born-again hitman, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Thankfully that’s where I am now, trying to repay them.

“But I don’t think I can ever repay the club for the help I’ve had.

“From Peter Lawwell, the chief executive, to Tom Dickson, the safeguarding manager, PR people, backroom staff, to the players, everyone has had a helping hand in getting me back.

“Other clubs might have simply cut ties and said: ‘We’ll let you go, you need to be happy in life’. Celtic knew what they had in me and wanted to get me back on the pitch scoring goals.

“They are seeing that now a year later. I don’t think what I can do on the pitch can repay them, but I’ll be doing my hardest in every game to try to do it.”

PERTHQUAKE…Leigh Griffiths celebrates his strike against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Reflecting on the battle to get back into the top flight after more than a year out, Griffiths said: “There was a part of me that thought: ‘Right, is it worthwhile me just moving completely, get away and try to get a fresh start?’.

“And then the flipside was: ‘Nah, I’ve got a lot of people to prove wrong’.

“I’m still far from finished and I will show people that I will come back from this and pick up from where I left off.

“So far I’m doing that, but with the help of the gaffer and the players I have behind me they are always keeping me on my toes, making sure I’m all right and making sure I don’t get above my station again.”

The attacker, who has also seen service at Livingston, Dundee, Wolves and Hibs, continued: “This time last year, I was nowhere to be seen. Now I’m back playing, feeling good.

“It’s just about continuing that way in my day-to-day life, making sure I’m on the ball in training and looking after myself off the pitch, just making sure I’m right in life.

“What have I changed? Where I’m living for one.

DIDN’T HE DO WELL…Leigh Griffiths is congratulated by his team-mates after netting against Motherwell.

“I had to move through to Glasgow from Edinburgh, which was a massive change for me. I’ve always stayed in Edinburgh, when I’ve been at Hibs, Dundee and Celtic.

“It was one of the biggest decisions I’ve made, but I am loving it. Usually they tell you to get out of Glasgow – I’m looking to get closer!

“It’s all down to the club. They wanted me to be within touching distance of the stadium and training ground for my well being.”

Neil Lennon took him aside for a heart-to-heart chat at Hampden after the Scottish Cup Final and Griffiths added: “This is the guy who brought me to the club. I had my troubles before and he signed me for the club.

“He knows what I can do and just having him upstairs, knowing his door is open every day, he is there to listen.”

Griffiths is likely to get another opportunity to continue his fightback when the holders take on Clyde in the Scottish Cup at Broadwood on Sunday.

Lennon has hinted at changes, but he realises the returning raider still requires game-time and he should start against the League One part-timers.

 

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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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