Leigh Griffiths has been the toast of many punters who have placed first goalscorer bets on him this season.
But the prolific Celtic striker missed out on a big return of his own this week when he failed to put his shirt on a big race winner during a trip to Cheltenham.
Griffiths and some of his team-mates enjoyed a day out at the festival on Wednesday, happily avoiding the kind of unsavoury headlines made by some English footballers in attendance who were too lazy to make their way to the public conveniences.
The only downside to Griffiths’ excursion was his failure to put one over on the bookies.
“I didn’t get a single winner, I was gutted,” he said. “I should have picked number nine, my shirt number, in the big race (the Champion Chase) but I went for the favourite instead. Of course, number nine (Sprinter Sacre) romped home! A few of the lads picked winners – James Forrest and Scott Allan were the most successful. But James was just picking random horses, it was ridiculous. He couldn’t even remember which ones.
“It was a good day out. On a day off, you want to do something fun and we managed to get tickets. I’ve been to Musselburgh and Hamilton races, but Cheltenham is the big one you want to experience and I’ve done it now.”
Griffiths has earned any rest and recreation he is afforded by Celtic this season, with his 35-goal tally in all competitions underpinning what has often been less than solid form by Ronny Deila’s team.
The 25-year-old’s contribution has ensured the Scottish champions are still in a position to enjoy a successful end to the campaign by retaining their Premiership crown and winning the Scottish Cup.
Griffiths hopes to help them achieve that aim while also setting a personal landmark in the shape of a new post-war club record for league goals scored in a season.
That is currently shared by Brian McClair and Henrik Larsson who netted 35 league goals in the 1986-87 and 2000-01 campaigns respectively.
Griffiths has scored 26 league goals so far and hopes to add to that haul when Celtic look to consolidate their place at the top of the table against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park today.
“We’ve still got nine league games to go, so it’s a target I can go for,” he said. “It seems that every time I score a goal now, people mention me in connection to these records. If I could break it and make a real name for myself here, I will be buzzing.
“I see the big pictures outside Celtic Park and around the stadium of guys like Brian McClair, Henrik Larsson, Charlie Nicholas, Chris Sutton and John Hartson.
“They were all great strikers here and I want to be remembered just like them.
“At the start of the season, I said to myself I’d be delighted with 20 goals again this season, especially as I wasn’t first-choice striker right away with Nadir Ciftci coming in for a big fee and starting games.
“I managed to start scoring in the league games, when he was suspended, and I’ve managed to kick on from there. Now I just want to keep on scoring until the end of the season.”