Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths warns defenders after signing new deal

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths (front).
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths (front).

Leigh Griffiths signed a new contract keeping him at Celtic until 2021 then warned Scottish defences that he is going to “torment” them for the next five years.

The 25-year-old Scotland striker joined the Hoops from Wolves in January 2014 with his form over the last year, including 19 goals this season, helping win a new deal with the club.

Speaking at Celtic Park, Griffiths, who will miss the visit of Motherwell in the Ladbrokes Premiership today with a calf complaint which has kept him out for the last two matches, was asked if the lengthy contract gave him the opportunity to establish himself as a club great.

“Yes, I am here to torment defences in the Premiership for the next five years,” he said.

“So defences better watch out.

“You don’t really see long deals any more but I am happy to sign a long-term contract.

“This is one of the biggest clubs in Europe and there is no better feeling than scoring in front of this crowd. I am still young. It seems like I have been around for a lot longer but there is still a lot to come from me.

“I still have a lot of aspects of my game to improve on and need to learn and hopefully I will reach my peak in this jersey.

“I want to win a lot of trophies but most of all I want to play in the Champions League, that is the main aim, especially for the boys who haven’t played there before.

“I have been at a couple of Champions League games here before and I don’t think there is a better atmosphere in European football and I want to sample it for myself.”

In the meantime, the former Livingston and Dundee player will try to beat midfielder Kris Commons goal record of 32 from season 2013-14 and, with 46 Celtic goals so far, he has his eyes set on reaching the 100 mark.

Griffiths said: “It has been a good start to the season and hopefully I can keep it going and beat Kris Commons’ record of 30-plus goals that he got a couple of seasons ago.

“If I beat that he will probably be one of the first ones to congratulate me, and I will be one of the first to congratulate him when he gets to 100.”

Griffiths has been in and out of the Scotland squad and is determined to add to his six caps by playing a part for Gordon Strachan in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers which begin next season.

“I don’t think there is a better opportunity for me to do that than by playing every week here,” he said.

“There are a lot of good games coming up in the World Cup qualifiers and I want to be part of that.”

Celtic’s visit to Fir Park on October 17 signalled Mark McGhee’s first game in charge of the Steelmen after taking over for the second time but the Parkhead side won the game in some comfort, although ultimately it was decided by a single Nadir Ciftci goal.

Since then Motherwell have won two, lost two and drawn two Ladbrokes Premiership matches with last week’s 3-1 home win over Dundee taking them above Kilmarnock into 10th place in the league.

“I think they have improved,” said Celtic boss Ronny Deila. “I have seen a couple of their games.

“There is much more intensity in what they are doing. They are very direct, they defend well and so it is going to be a tough game.

“They had a good victory in their last game so we have to be at our best.”