Celtic 5 - 0 Inverness CT

Match info: Scottish Premier at Celtic Park

Date: 01/03/2014 KO: 15:00 Ref: Att: 46,552

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Celtic

Leigh Griffiths 12,57,85
Charlie Mulgrew 22
Kris Commons 78

5
vs
0

Inverness


FT (ht: 2-0)

  • Last Updated: March 1 2014, 21:05 GMT

Leigh Griffiths went a long way to winning over doubting Celtic supporters with a hat-trick in the 5-0 over Inverness, celebrating with the match ball and a call-up to the Scotland squad for their friendly with Poland in Warsaw on Wednesday night.

Griffiths opens the scoring against Inverness
Griffiths opens the scoring against Inverness

The 23-year-old was not a popular arrival with every Hoops fan following his £800,000 move from Wolves in January.

But Scotland manager Gordon Strachan was among the impressed crowd inside Celtic Park to see Griffiths run Caley ragged with goals from Charlie Mulgrew and substitute Kris Commons reflecting accurately the gulf between the two Scottish Premiership teams.

The Scottish Football Association have confirmed that Griffiths, who was "buzzing to get my first hat-trick here,'' will replace Robert Snodgrass, whom Norwich have asked to be rested from international duty due to a recurring muscle problem which, however, will not keep him out of the game against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Speaking about the possibility of winning his fifth cap, Griffiths said: "It is a bonus. I am absolutely buzzing to go.

"I think he (Strachan) made comments about me not being in the original squad because I wasn't playing for Wolves in the last month and a half or so and he wanted me to have time to settle in here - and I have done that kind of quickly.''

The former Hibernian striker acknowledged the backing given to him by manager Neil Lennon and claimed his first goal - a near post finish from an Emilio Izaguirre cross - pleased him more than his thunderous second which flashed past Caley goalkeeper Dean Brill.

"When the fans heard there was interest in me they didn't want me here but as long as I have the manager's backing that's good enough for me,'' he said.

"But I am trying to prove everybody wrong and trying to score as many goals as I can and the first one was probably my best.

"I sclaffed it in but that the kind of goals I like to score. People normally associate me with long-range shots and trying to beat people but front post, that is where I want to be.

"That is what the manager wants, he wants a penalty box striker. He said that Gary Hooper (former Celtic striker) was one of the ones to emulate and if I was half as good as he was then he will be happy. ''

Lennon was delighted with Griffiths' contribution to keeping Celtic 21 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table.

He said: "His movement was giving Inverness trouble. His first goal pleased me the most, we have been crying out for a penalty-box striker and that was a great ball and a great finish.''

Inverness manager John Hughes claimed not to be too despondent.

"We can take a lot from the game,'' he said. ''One thing I will say is that we came and had a go.

"But Celtic are the best in Scotland and you need to learn from these games even in defeat.

"I don't think we'll ever get to where Celtic are and I said that to our boys after the game.

"But that's not our fight, it's the rest of the games. It won't harm us.

"The next month will define our season. We have Dundee United next week in a quarter-final (of the Scottish Cup) and then a Scottish League Cup final to look forward to.''


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