REVVING up the Evening Times milk float the other night on the way home after another day of joy, a voice spoke to me through the crackling radio.

At the other side of the hissing airwaves and behind the clunk and cranks of my carriage churning its way on to the M8, a Celtic fan was speaking in glowing terms about Leigh Griffiths. As he should.

The chat on the city’s famous phone-in was stirred of course by the Scotland striker’s first ever Champions League group game goal on Wednesday which sent the Premiership champions scudding towards a rare win. 

Among the platitudes thrown towards Griffiths was the suggestion he is in fact a better striker than Moussa Dembele. It was at the point said caller said he was better than Henrik Larsson. It was at that point the Batmobile nearly diverted into a hedge.

Evening Times: Leigh Griffiths celebrates his brilliant free-kick in the style of Henrik Larsson on a bonkers evening for him and the Celtic supporters

While holding Griffiths up above the Swede, which would near enough crown him as the best striker Celtic Football Club is ever seen, is about as over the top as Pedro Caixinha proclaiming he had the best squad in Scotland. One can only assume he was referring to his Fifa 18 Ultimate Team on the Xbox.

But the observation on the Celtic striker’s stock is a curious one. 

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Regular sufferers of these witterings will perhaps recall a previous instalment praising the 27-year-old. I will do my best not to repeat myself. 

With Moussa Dembele’s injury last season offering a window of opportunity for Griffiths, he grabbed it with both hands before volleying it into the net. It brought him out of the young Frenchman’s shadow and thrust him into a spotlight which continues to see him shine. Wednesday night’s goal in Brussels just underlines that, not to mention the sublime finish against Rangers just a few days earlier.

A lot of fuss was made earlier in the month among Celtic supporters at the sight of Dembele back in training. After all, before a hamstring injury struck him down in March, the former Fulham hitman had hit 32 goals, attracting the attention of clubs like Chelsea and rumours of transfer fees of over £20million.

Evening Times: Henrik Larsson in the Hoops

On current form, if Dembele is worth £20m, Griffiths is worth £25m.

The performance on Wednesday night was incredible, but it’s nothing new. Griffiths has developed into a player who is clearly capable of playing against the defences he regularly cuts through domestically. 

Dembele’s pricetag is dictated by four different factors. One, his age (21). Two, where he came from (Fulham). Three, his nationality and the fact he’s linked with the French national team. And last but not least, his ability.

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In the cash-rich land of English football, the fact Dembele previously played at a club like Fulham and had a reputation at such a young age does him favours. Griffiths does not have that luxury.

At 27 and with a stop-start period at Wolves, it is perhaps easy for him to be seen as unfashionable to the market south of the border.

However, Griffiths has adapted his play. His ability to hold the ball up with his back to goal is completely taken from Dembele’s book – and he is now showcasing his talent on the biggest European stage.

Is he better than Henrik Larsson? Of course not. Is he the best since? Yes, he is. 


In time Demebele’s name will get mentioned with more potential transfer fees, but it’s Griffiths who is quite possibly the one with most to offer.

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AND ANOTHER THING...
We will soon see what Scotland manager Gordon Strachan is made of.

Not in terms of the upcoming game against Slovakia, but who he chooses to fill in for Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong. 

Or, to put it even more bluntly, whether or not he calls up Callum McGregor.

Evening Times: 05/03/14 VAUXHALL U21 INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE MATCH.SCOTLAND U21 V HUNGARY U21.Callum McGregor in action for Scotland.
The midfielder, who has recently penned a new deal at Parkhead, has found it difficult to get international recognition despite being one of Brendan Rodgers’ top performers last season.

Now is the time for the light to shine on him in dark blue.

Will Strachan be stubborn, not give him a call-up and reshuffle his pack so Charlie Mulgrew slots into midfield? Or will he give McGregor a call.

Given the news it’s unlikely anyone else will be called up, I think we have our answer.

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