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Hitman Griffiths targets Old Firm rivals

Motherwell 1 - Celtic 2

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 11/04/2016

At the double: Leigh Griffiths bagged a brace against Motherwell
At the double: Leigh Griffiths bagged a brace against Motherwell

Leigh Griffiths got back on the goal trail with a double in Celtic's 2-1 win over Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday then immediately turned his sights on Rangers.

The Hoops striker went into the game on the back of an unusual four-match scoreless run and looked distraught when he missed the target with a penalty in the 26th minute - his fourth failure from the spot this season.

However, a goal either side of a Scott McDonald leveller took his tally for the season to 37 and stretched Celtic's lead over Aberdeen at the top of the table to eight points going into the split.

Griffiths is now focusing on traditional rivals Rangers in next Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park, where he scored in the 2-0 win over the Light Blues in last season's Scottish League Cup semi-final.

He said: "My next focus is Rangers. That's our next game and hopefully we can replicate the result from last year.

"We know it will be difficult, we know they are on a high (after winning promotion back to the Premiership) and they will be up for it but so will we.

"We have a good week's training to go and come Sunday we will see what it is all about.

"We knew we had to put in a performance and get three points and stretch that lead at the top, especially after Aberdeen's defeat on Friday.

"But the 90 minutes is done now, we have a good week's training and look forward to Sunday."

The Scotland striker would not concede the title race was over but acknowledged the strong position Celtic are in as they look to land their fifth successive title.

He said: "There is still a lot of football to be played but we are in a good position.

"Eight points clear with five games to go, it would take a big collapse from us to throw it away.

"Like I say we look forward to Sunday now and when the fixtures come out for the remaining league games we will look forward to them."

Griffiths will not be taking penalties again, stating that "(goalkeeper) Craig Gordon will be on penalties before I am," but was glad to get back on the goal trail.

He drilled home a cut-back from Kieran Tierney and scored the second from another assist from the left-back, albeit Motherwell goalkeeper Connor Ripley helped by allowing it to slip between his legs.

He said: "It felt like a lot longer than three games - four if you count the Scotland game - and the boys kept telling me to keep my head up.

"I thought it was going to be one of those games like last Tuesday against Dundee (0-0) when I squandered the penalty and sclaffed another shot.

"But I made good contact with my first goal and you could see the relief when I celebrated."

Despite the defeat results elsewhere went Motherwell's way and they retained fourth place and a top-half finish which pleased boss Mark McGhee.

He told the club's official website: "We're fourth at the split and that's huge credit to the players for the way they've gone about their business over the last two months.

"I cannot speak highly enough of them."

Belfast Telegraph

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