LEIGH GRIFFITHS' life changed forever on one midsummer night's dream.

Before it, he was a player renowned in his homeland as a proven goalscorer at domestic level, someone who could terrorise Scottish centre-halves from Dundee to Dingwall and back again. Beyond that, his influence had been limited to the flash of promise in club European qualifiers, the kudos to go with international goals still proving elusive.

That was all to change on June 10. Hampden park was a sizzling hot bowl of energy under the Glasgow sun, passions and tensions simmering as Scotland, 1-0 down to England in a crucial World Cup qualifier, looked destined for despair. Or at least they did until Griffiths intervened.

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Two simply stunning free-kicks at the death turned this game against the Auld Enemy on its head, bringing new hope. A Harry Kane goal with the last kick of the ball would crush Scotland hearts on the day, but it was not enough to halt the launch the career of one of the nation's most prolific forwards to an even greater height.

Many south of the border would have taken notice of the composure, skill and confidence of the 27-year-old that day, traits which have been mirrored in several performances since then, including the 3-0 win for Celtic in the Champions League away to Anderlecht on Wednesday.

Scotland No.2 Mark McGhee is no stranger to Griffiths. During his time as Motherwell manager McGhee would curse the contribution of the man in green and white, but now can sit back and marvel at his efforts in dark blue with his tally now standing at three goals.

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Even though the face of the former Hibee is more than familiar, the transformation in his ability and potential is unrecognisable with another massive week ahead for the striker.

“A year to 18 months ago if someone down the road had said to me 'could Leigh Griffiths do well in the Championship?’ I’d have said ‘He is a finisher. In the right team then probably.’" said McGhee. “Now if someone asked if he could do well in the Premier League I’d not hesitate. His all-round game has improved so much.

“Remember I watch these games all the time. Last week I was at Brighton against Newcastle and Leigh could have played in either of those teams. Absolutely no danger.

“That’s how much he has come on as far as I’m concerned.

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“The thing about that England game is people look at his free-kicks and see one thing. They don’t necessarily see his open game and that role.

“In his Champions League games with Celtic more and more people will see it and more and more attention will come from it.

“It’s not for the last four years he has been doing this. He’s improved over the last year to 18 months. Therefore he needs to sustain that and I’m sure then Celtic will be batting away approaches for him."

Those goals against England back in June undoubtedly had a massive impact on his stature as an international striker, but to be fair to Griffiths his stock on a domestic front began to rise long before.

On the back of reaching the 40-goal mark in the 2015/16 season, he was forced to dig even deeper to overcome the problems brought by an on-fire Moussa Dembele to get in the team.

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However, Griffiths is without doubt a far better player now than he was when he was battering in the goals under Ronny Deila. Indeed, the presence of Dembele, who is a master with his hold-up play and strength to play with his back to goal, has certainly rubbed off on his Scottish counterpart to make him a more complete player.

“All of these things have contributed to him upping his game," said McGhee. "Those at Celtic deserve a huge amount of credit for getting his mind engaged.

“But he definitely has the bit between his teeth.

“He works in both directions. He plays up against people and is a modern striker. Plenty of them only know one way and that’s with one up. In my day it was more of a 4-4-2 system and playing off each other.

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“Some centre forwards these days can do one or other. The top ones can do both and he can. He can come short, link up, put people under pressure but he can run in behind as well."

Many claim Griffiths should have been in the Scotland first team long before his recent run, believing the hope of progress from Group F would have been stronger with him at the apex of the attack.

Alas, it is all about the here and now for Scotland, and McGhee is confident in what he sees.

“It’s difficult to say if he's the best striker for years with me having not been here for all the time. I think we are grateful he’s improved as much as he has," he said. “Even in the time we’ve been here he’s come on so much. He’s almost unrecognisable.

“It’s not about being physical in terms of one-to-one combat. It’s more about his movement, energy and determination to get a goal. Even going back to the Slovakia game, he had more shot than the entire team put together. He has a high percentage of shots that hit the target.

“In training he is a tremendously hard striker of the ball. I’ve said this before that he smashes it and hits the target. There’s no back lift, he has it all."