Scott McKenna says it's "brilliant" to see Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths back

By David Walton

February 16, 2020

Aberdeen centre-back Scott McKenna has stated that it’s “brilliant” to see Leigh Griffiths back in the fold at Celtic.

McKenna and Griffiths both look set to go head-to-head today in this afternoon’s lunch-time kickoff at Pittodrie. Celtic go into the match on an eight-game winning run. Aberdeen, meanwhile, only just ended an open-play goal drought of 639 minutes on Tuesday night in Hamilton (BBC).

Of course, next month, both McKenna and Griffiths will have their eyes set on something totally different to Premiership action. Scotland have a crucial Euro 2020 playoff match against Israel. Victory there would see them progress to a final playoff match against either Norway or Serbia.

Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And the Aberdeen centre-back is pleased to see Scotland’s best striker back fit in time for the matches. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, McKenna stated that Scotland manager Steven Clarke will be “delighted” at Griffiths’ renaissance as he previewed today’s clash.

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“It’s about trying to stay on your toes and switched on because they have that quality right through the team. It’s not just Edouard.

“Leigh is a proven goalscorer — when he is in the team he always scores. We need to keep our wits about us. It’s brilliant for Scotland that he is back and knocking on the door.

“Steve Clarke will be delighted to see him scoring, so it’s a positive for the country. Recently we’ve had a good shape about us and good determination and aggression in our defending. Hopefully we take that into the game.”

Big-game goals will make it hard for Clarke to ignore Griffiths

When it comes to catching Clarke’s eye for next month, there’s only one way to go about it for Griffiths – scoring goals.

Four strikes in seven games read extremely well for the Celtic striker (Transfermarkt). The partnership he’s striking up with Odsonne Edouard is reaping rewards for both players, and Clarke simply can’t ignore that.

Of course, it’ll be a massively different job to lead the line for Scotland on his own. Griffiths won’t have anyone of the class of Edouard alongside him, but even so, who’s a better option than our man right now?

Leigh Griffiths vs England (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

In the last Scotland double-header against Cyprus and Kazakhstan, Clarke’s forward options were Steven Naismith, Oli McBurnie, and Eamonn Brophy. Outside of that, there was Oliver Burke and Lewis Morgan available to play up top. Not one of those players is in the same form as Griffiths right now.

Big game goals will do Griffiths a power of good too of course. If he can net his fifth since the winter break against Aberdeen today, it’ll be all the more reason for Clarke to be impressed. Having the support of a Scotland team-mate like McKenna also shows how highly he’s rated in that Scotland dressing-room.

Between now and the Euro playoffs, Celtic have nine matches still to play. That includes two games against Copenhagen and a Glasgow derby at Ibrox. The opportunities are there for Griffiths to go and seize – a goal at Pittodrie, however, would be another step on the right track.