McPake backs Leigh Griffiths to win PFA award

Leigh Griffiths holds off Aberdeen's Clark Robertson. Picture: PA
Leigh Griffiths holds off Aberdeen's Clark Robertson. Picture: PA
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HIBS captain James McPake insists talismanic team-mate Leigh Griffiths deserves to be crowned PFA Player of the Year.

The Easter Road hitman is vying for the award with Inverness midfielder Andrew Shinnie, Motherwell striker Michael Higdon and Aberdeen forward Niall McGinn.

However, McPake reckons “Sparky”, who has also been nominated for the Young Player of the Year award, has been the standout player in the SPL this term.

He said: “I was delighted for Sparky to get nominated. He thoroughly deserved it and I hope he goes on to win the award because for me he’s been the best player in the league this season. He’s a top-class player.”

According to McPake, Griffiths has taken the nomination in his stride, and the skipper insists the way the 22-year-old has blocked out all the negative headlines surrounding his private life to focus on scoring goals merely heightens his claim to the prize.

“He just takes everything in his stride; the good press, the bad press, whatever, it doesn’t bother him,” said McPake, whose side host St Mirren in the SPL tomorrow. “People might be surprised, but he just comes in, does his work, then leaves and he doesn’t cause any problems at all.

“Things just seem to follow him about in terms of the bad press he gets, but a lot of it’s unfair, in my opinion.

“I’ve never had a problem with him since the day I met him as a 16-year-old and that remains the same now. All he wants to do is score goals for Hibs on a Saturday.”