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Leigh Griffiths is hoping for pivotal Celtic role

Celtic 0 - Ross County 0

By Ronnie Esplin

Leigh Griffiths hopes boss Ronny Deila keeps faith with him when Celtic travel to Partick Thistle on New Year's day.

The 24-year-old striker's contributions this season have come mostly from the bench and his start against Ross County at Parkhead on Saturday was his first in the league since August.

However, Griffiths was as frustrated as everyone else of a Celtic persuasion as the Staggies defended resolutely for a goalless draw which meant the champions have dropped five of their last six points, although they remain top of the Scottish Premiership.

Griffiths is mindful that after scoring 11 goals in 10 games, John Guidetti has now gone five without troubling the net while retaining his place, and the former Dundee and Wolves player is hoping Deila shows him the same sort of backing when the team is selected for Firhill on Thursday.

"I'm confident all the strikers can score goals - myself, John, Stefan (Scepovic) or Kris (Commons) if he plays up there," said Griffiths.

"We'll all score goals at times but it's about getting that run in the side and hopefully I've done enough to get a start on Thursday as well. The manager spoke to me after training and said I'd be starting against County.

"If he has a word in my ear again and says I've done enough for Thursday I'll be delighted.

"I just have to keep playing well. John hasn't scored in five but he's working hard for the team, so if I can do that and chip in with a few goals, hopefully I will stay there.

"It was frustrating on Saturday. We dominated for 90 minutes.

"Ross County came to frustrate us and that's exactly what they did well by sticking to their game plan to get a point. They defended well.

"We tried to create chances but when there is that many people behind the ball, there isn't much room for us. And luck didn't go our way, especially with Guidetti when he is right in front of goal and he puts it wide.

"Nine times out of 10 he buries that chance. It was a disappointing day but we look forward to Thursday now."

Despite a vast improvement defensively from their 5-0 home defeat to Celtic in October, County remain without a win in six games and have slipped to the bottom of the table, leapfrogged by St Mirren.

Boss Jim McIntyre is looking for his side to build on the encouraging Parkhead point when they host Highland rivals Inverness on January 1.

He said: "Hopefully the boys will get some self-belief from that result because it's key. We've done some things well but hopefully this can be a springboard for the Highland derby.

"We performed well at their place the last time so hopefully we can go a stage further and get the three points."

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