"Nothing simple" about Griffiths move from Celtic to Dundee

By Euan Davidson

September 3, 2021

The presence of Gordon Strachan was no help in securing Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths, says Dundee boss James McPake.

McPake, Griffiths’ former captain at Hibernian, was eager to take the striker on loan from Parkhead. Despite Gordon Strachan’s involvement at both clubs, to differing degrees, there was little the ex-Scotland and Celtic boss could do to wield any influence, the Dundee boss says.

Griffiths has endured a difficult few years at Celtic. It was little surprise that, despite signing a year’s contract extension, the former Scotland star ended up elsewhere at the start of September.

However, it wasn’t a particularly easy process, according to McPake. He said [Scotsman]:

“People say, because we had Gordon, it would be simple but, no. I wish it was. There was nothing simple about it. If it was easy, the deal would have been done at the start of the transfer window.

“But Celtic are a business, as well as a football club, and Leigh is on good money there so we had to find a way to finance the deal to get him to Dundee within our budget, which we did.

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“It took until the night before deadline day for them to accept it but once they did they then told us they also had an offer from another club.

“That is when it became difficult and that’s when there was a five or 10 minute period when Leigh didn’t answer his phone to me and I was ready to drive to his house!”

Griffiths’ Dundee move from Celtic makes perfect sense, without Strachan help

Given the odd set of circumstances involving Gordon Strachan, it’s probably for the best that the ex-Celtic boss wasn’t involved.

Strachan’s roles at Dundee and Celtic aren’t transfer-based. Instead, it’s more about the development of young players, in Celtic’s case the B and Women’s Teams.

At Dens Park, he’s been a technical director since 2019, but in terms of transfers for the first team, it’s unlikely he has much involvement, if any.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Of course, such a move was going to get tongues wagging. But going by McPake’s account, it was a move fraught with difficulties.

For Griffiths, he gets to play under the guidance of an old friend. His remit will be simple: score goals for a side who don’t tend to hit the back of the net too often.

If he does, his Scotland prospects may well improve. At 31, there’s still plenty he can offer a Scottish Premiership team.

Read more: “Here to win”; new Bhoy sets out Celtic agenda