Coronavirus in Scotland: Leigh Griffiths calls on Celtic to wrap up title before virus spreads

Striker keen to eliminate potential impact of league ending early

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths in relishing playing up front with Odsonne Edouard. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS

Leigh Griffiths has called on Celtic to wrap up the title as soon as possible to minimise the impact the spread of coronavirus could have on the run-in to the season.

Neil Doncaster, the chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League, has warned an outbreak of the virus at even one club could make finishing the season “very difficult”.

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Celtic are 13 points clear at the top of the Premiership with nine matches remaining, although second-placed Rangers have a game in hand.

Speculation that the league leaders are in danger of missing out on a record-equalling ninth consecutive title due to coronavirus has caused understandable concern prompting Griffiths to encourage his team-mates to maintain the form that has made them seemingly uncatchable.

The Celtic striker said: “It depends how early we are talking [about ending the campaign],” he said. “If it goes into the middle of April before they shut it off then, hopefully, we are uncatchable by that stage so they won’t be able to take the league off us. For us as players, though, we are just concentrating on the next game.

“Obviously, the virus is spreading like wildfire so we just need to concentrate on our match and make sure we are doing everything right here and we’ll be looking to go out against St Mirren on Saturday and try to take all three points.

“The aim for us is to be as ruthless as possible and that’s been the case ever since we came back from Dubai in January.

“We were in a difficult position after the winter break but we’ve been relentless domestically. We were disappointed to drop two points in midweek at Livingston but that’s made us more determined to take all three against St Mirren.”

Griffiths also claimed that the understanding he developed with Odsonne Edouard during that break in Dubai helped to convince manager Neil Lennon to change Celtic’s formation, with devastating effect.

“We don’t need to ask ourselves where the other one is because I know where he’s going to be: I know that he likes to drop into holes while I prefer to stand on the shoulder of the last defender and that’s developed quickly,” he said. “It started in Dubai, where we first hit it off.

“I’ve worked hard to give the manager a selection headache and make him think about changing to two up front.”

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