Celtic will punish any weakness, warns Leigh Griffiths

Leigh Griffiths missed a sitter against Queen of the South
Leigh Griffiths missed a sitter against Queen of the South
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LEIGH GRIFFITHS today warned his Hibs team-mates that a repeat of their Palmerston Park horror show will see them “turned over by ten goals, never mind two” when they visit Celtic Park on Saturday.

Pat Fenlon’s side were stunned as first-half goals from Queen of the South stars Nicky Clark and Gavin Reilly sent them crashing out of the Scottish Communities League Cup on Tuesday with a performance which the Hibs boss declared had left him “disgusted.”

The defeat left the Capital outfit stunned, and also brought a promising run of results to an abrupt halt, leaving Fenlon having to lift his crestfallen players for their clash with the SPL champions who were today celebrating reaching the group stage of the Champions League following their 4-0 aggregate victory over Swedish side 
Helsingborgs.

Fenlon had his squad back training within hours of their miserable display in Dumfries to begin preparing for the trip to Glasgow knowing all eyes will be on Hibs to see how they react to their latest setback, as Griffiths acknowledged.

The on-loan Wolves striker said: “We have to pick ourselves up and look forward to Saturday but if we put in the sort of effort against Celtic we did the other night then we will be turned over by ten, never mind two.

“There’s no way we should have been beaten by a Second Division club but you have to give credit to Queen of the South, they were absolutely brilliant. They gave us a doing, they were first to the ball and we could not handle them to be honest.”

Asked if he felt complacency was at the heart of Hibs’ downfall, Griffiths said: “I don’t know what it was, but an SPL club should be going there and bossing games.

“We’d done that in our last few games but Tuesday night was back to the performance against Dundee United on the first day of the season.

“We did not know what we were doing. We were lackadaisical, sloppy. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.”

Griffiths included in that two chances he had to score, labelling the second of them “the sitter of the season”, while admitting that had he taken either opportunity the outcome could have been vastly different.

The first came with the game goalless, Jorge Claros’ misdirected shot finding its way to Griffiths who could only direct it on to the bar of goalkeeper Lee Robinson.

A minute later, Clark put the Doonhamers ahead. Hibs-daft Griffiths could have equalised when left with only Robinson to beat but sliced his shot horribly wide only for Reilly to put the game beyond Fenlon’s side four minutes later.

Griffiths said: “The first one I didn’t know much about, the ball came off my heel and hit the bar.

“The other one the goalkeeper left a big gap to his right, I tried to put it there and missed. It was the sitter of the season. I’m not going to make any excuses about it.

“Had either gone in it would have been a different game altogether. We could have been 1-0 up or level at 1-1.

“But then they went up the park, made it 2-0, their fans were right behind them, we had a mountain to climb and it was very hard to come back from there.”

On a brighter note, Griffiths’ Scotland Under-21 exile – he’d been overlooked by coach Billy Stark for games since last November – was brought to an end as he was named along with Easter Road team-mates Paul Hanlon and David Wotherspoon for the Euro Championship qualifying double-header against Luxembourg and Austria next month.