Sunday, September 22, 2019

Griffiths emotional after scoring on first start since leave of absence

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 24 Jul 2019

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An emotional Leigh Griffiths paid tribute to Celtic and his team-mates after scoring his first goal since going on an extended leave of absence for mental health problems in December.

Celtic hosted Estonia’s Nomme Kalju in the second round of Champions League qualifying on Wednesday and ran out 5-0 winners in the first leg.

Ryan Christie was the star, scoring twice and getting an assist, but Griffths grabbed the headlines with his first-half free-kick.

Griffiths missed the second half of last season after Celtic granted him leave and the striker ranks his goal among his career highlights after a difficult few months.

“Words can’t describe how good a feeling that was when the ball hit the back of the net,” the Scotland forward told Celtic TV. “I’m absolutely delighted.

“So much hard work has been done, not just by me, but by the backroom staff and all connected with myself to get back on the pitch.

“I can’t score goals without my team-mates, my biggest thanks goes to them.

“Hopefully that’s the start of more goals. My kids were watching me and I had friends in the stands too. I was close to crying.

“It’s up there with the England moments [scoring a brace for Scotland against the Three Lions in 2017] if I’m honest.

“A big thank you to my team-mates and everyone connected with the club. If it wasn’t for them then I wouldn’t be back on the pitch.”

Celtic travel to Estonia for the second leg on Tuesday and, barring a capitulation in that match, will face Cluj or Maccabi Tel Aviv in the third qualifying round.

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