Paul Hanlon will take on Celtic star Leigh Griffiths tonight, but it’s clear he’s in total awe of his ability.
Indeed, Hibernian will travel to Parkhead in another must-win game for the Hoops. It’s been a mixed bag for us against Jack Ross’ team this season. Back in September, Celtic mauled Hibs 3-0 in Glasgow before a last-gasp Diego Laxalt equaliser saved a point for us in Leith.
Leigh didn’t start either. He was rooted to the bench vs Hibs. He then only came on for the final 18 minutes in Edinburgh when we were struggling badly.
Nowadays he’s back playing consistently and from the start as his partnership with Odsonne Edouard has been renewed. And it’s clear Hanlon is preparing to face Leigh in particular as he bigged up his ability.
As quoted by the Daily Record, the Hibs centre-back said: “I have played against Leigh since we were about five or six years old, boys club footballers, so I know Leigh quite well. He has an unbelievable left foot, a wand.
“It is easy to be well aware of that and a lot harder to stop it.I will be well aware of him during the game and try to close him down as quickly as possible. He has always been exactly the same player with that wand of a left foot and being able to score goals from nothing.
“He’s just desperate to score goals all the time and that has never changed. Leigh did well at Hibs when we got the ball to him. When you play for a club like Celtic and get more chances then you can see the amount of goals he has scored. I am glad to see him back but hope he is quiet against us.”
Paul Hanlon should prove no match for Celtic dream duo
Lennon, for the first time this season, has managed to provide Edouard and Griffiths with consistent minutes together. It’s fair to say we’re seeing the rewards of that too. Celtic are absolutely flying in terms of performance levels.
The Hoops had racked up six consecutive wins before a loss at Ibrox on January 2nd. Even then, that defeat was us produce our best derby performance since a 2-0 win at Ibrox back in September 2019. In terms of the overall displays, there hasn’t been much to complain about over the festive period.
The manager has finally found his best XI. He also seems to have found the right shape to go with it. Nobody in Scotland has found an answer for Celtic’s new system.
That’s what makes tonight’s game so ominous for Hanlon and his Hibs side. Celtic are showing real creativity going forward, and it’s all coming from this deadly duo of Griff and Edouard. Hanlon will know the former’s capabilities more than most.
Celtic, of course, have come under severe criticism for their trip to Dubai. They’ll be itching to prove that it was worth the trip. The only way to do that is via results, and much of that responsibility will be placed at the feet of Griffiths and Edouard.
Hibs should be lambs to the slaughter this evening, without being too disrespectful. Hopefully, Celtic ensure that’s the case come kick-off.