EOIN Doyle has seen Hibernian’s performances improve all round since he joined the club last winter, but he knows that much of the credit goes to one man – his fellow-striker Leigh Griffiths. After seeing his team-mate score both goals in Hibs’ 2-1 win against St Mirren on Saturday, the Irishman added his voice to the swelling chorus calling for the club to do everything they can to keep Griffiths beyond the end of his current loan spell in January.
“Definitely we want to keep him,” Doyle said. “If we were to lose him, it would be a big loss. I’m sure there are a few looking at him now and it will be a battle to hold on to him. Hopefully he will still [be here].
“He’s special. He can pull a goal out of nowhere and he gives us an extra dimension. Defenders don’t know what he’s going to do and, if it sometimes looks as if he doesn’t know either, the ball usually ends up in the back of the net. He’s never short of confidence, but goals help any striker. He believes in his ability and rightly so, because he’s got loads of it. The two of us work well together and are never short of effort.”
Wolves, where Griffiths is under contract until the end of the season, allowed him to return to Easter Road last summer after his previous loan period ended, having decided he was not required at Molineux. But Hibs are well aware that the more goals Griffiths scores for them, the more it might cost to keep him – and the more attention he will attract from other clubs.
“It definitely surprises me that Wolves may let him go, because he deserves a fair crack of the whip,” Doyle added. “You never know what’s happening there. But I don’t want him to go. We want to hold on to him because he’s a massive player for us – top scorer in the league. You always want to hold on to your top striker. There hasn’t been any chat from him about it, but it’s only November. We’re definitely not a one-man team. We’ve got a solid defence, a great ’keeper – through the whole team, everyone plays their part. But him knocking in the goals plays a big part for us.
“It’s a huge difference from last season, you can see that yourself. It gives you more confidence coming through a game like Saturday.”
While Doyle believes it will be tough to match Celtic over the season, he added: “We’ve played everyone now and there has been nothing to really frighten us. I think Celtic have to win the league but we will always be here to give chase.”
St Mirren goalkeeper Craig Samson also acknowledged Griffiths’ class after a match which saw him hardly troubled by any other Hibs player. “Everybody saw what the difference in the game was, and it was one player,” he said. “Leigh Griffiths was brilliant: his two finishes were great and he’s hit the post twice. His overall performance was top-notch, and certainly the difference in the two teams.”