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Interview: Leigh Griffiths insists Celtic can still land the Ten

© SNS GroupLeigh Griffiths backs his manager and chief executive.
Leigh Griffiths backs his manager and chief executive.

Leigh Griffiths has voiced his backing for Celtic’s beleaguered bosses, Neil Lennon and Peter Lawwell.

The Hoops striker has received plenty of backing from the manager and chief executive respectively during the periods he has struggled at Celtic Park.

And after seeing the two men come under fire for the ill-fated trip to Dubai, and the form slump that has followed, he has urged critics to try to keep a sense of perspective.

“We want the gaffer to stay for as long as possible because we feel he is still the right man for the job,” said Griffiths, in the wake of reports the club were minded to stick with the status quo until the summer.

“There has been talk about his position, and Mr Lawwell’s position, too.

“But you need to remember what these guys have done for the club.

“Yeah, the fans support us and we all love them. We want them back in the stadium as soon as possible so they can cheer us on.

“But fans quickly forget what those two have done for the club.

“The gaffer has won five out of six trophies since he came back.

“Mr Lawwell has won the last nine domestic league titles and guided us to a quadruple Treble.

“The fans are hurting more than any of us. It is up to us players to put that right.

“We are the ones who need to take most of the responsibility. We are the ones out there playing for three points, and we are not putting in the performances.

“The manager and the coaching staff can give you all the instructions possible, but ultimately it is us players who are failing to carry out those instructions perfectly.

“We are the ones who can affect what gets said about them, and we are not giving them what they want.”

Back-to-back draws against Livingston prompted Lennon to admit he could understand why people would say the title race was all over, and with it, Celtic’s dreams of a historic 10-in-a-row.

The Northern Irishman, though, has stressed the need to fight on – and Griffiths goes even further.

“Yes, we’ve got a big points gap to try to claw back, and we have not had the best of seasons,” said the Scotland international.

“But it is still mathematically possible – we can still win the league. It’s going to take an almighty push from everybody involved, and we need to take it one game at a time.

“The fans thought it was a foregone conclusion that we were just going to turn up this season and win the 10. It doesn’t work like that.

“You need to earn the right to win trophies. We earned that right 12 times-in-a-row, but that has not been the case this season.”

Why not is the question the Leith-born forward is as baffled about as any supporter.

“We are still doing the same things. The coaching hasn’t changed, what the gaffer, John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan give us is brilliant,” he said.

“It’s just not been a great season, but we have time to turn it around.

“It is actually a pity we are not playing until Wednesday (at home to Hamilton Accies) because after the disappointment, you want to get back on the pitch as quickly as possible.

“However, as I say, the title is still mathematically possible and, of course, there is the Scottish Cup still to play for.

“We have players at this club who do not know what it’s like to not win a cup final or lose a league.

“I have done it, and I can tell you it is up there with the worst feelings in the world.

“Thankfully, for the last few years I have been on a winning side.

“If we can get back to Hampden in the Scottish Cup, then hopefully I will be on the winning side again.”