The on-loan Celtic striker struck the first goal of his second spell at Dens Park four minutes after half-time as Dundee increased the pressure on Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass with a 2-1 win.
Luke McCowan added a second shortly after the hour mark. Christian Ramirez pulled one back for Aberdeen but the Pittodrie side’s winless run has now stretched to 10 games.
McPake was delighted that Griffiths had got off the mark in his fifth appearance since rejoining Dundee and with a potential SFA ban for kicking a flare towards St Johnstone fans hanging over him.
The Dundee manager described the goal as similar to the one Griffiths scored against Aberdeen while at Hibs to send the Easter Road side into the Scottish Cup final v Hearts in 2012.
The striker latched onto Garry O’Connor’s through ball and slipped the ball into the net past Jason Brown with his right foot after McPake had started the move by winning a header inside the opposition half in the 2-1 win.
Griffiths was subbed off after 55 minutes at Dens Park but had already opened the scoring with a goal that was remarkably similar – again he used his less favoured right foot to slip the ball beyond current Aberdeen goalkeeper Gary Woods.
“Leigh’s goal was a trip down memory lane,” said McPake. “I saw that goal against Aberdeen before when I was on the pitch with Leigh in a Scottish Cup semi-final.
“He needed a goal,” he added. “He’s missed a few chances and he’s been annoyed with himself but now that he’s got that one goal…
“He’s deadly - right foot, left foot, whatever. We just needed him to get a goal. The plan was 60 minutes for him and he got round about that before we took him off, because we couldn’t risk him.
"Charlie Adam was outstanding,” added McPake. “To be out for so long and to then come in and run the midfield like that, to spray the ball about the way he did and dictate play at times, he was superb. He’s a leader, someone that players will follow and we’ve missed him.
“We got what we deserved out of the game, I don’t think anyone can argue with that. We made it hard for ourselves in the end but right now I don’t care, we’ve got the three points.”
McPake was sent off in injury time after a tussle with Jack MacKenzie, who had gone to retrieve the ball from the Dundee dugout. It’s the Dundee manager’s second home game in succession in which he has been red carded.
“I’ll let everyone else decide when they see it on telly because I don’t want to say something I regret,” he said.
“It was a heated game and I don’t know if I fully deserved the red card or not. If someone thinks I’m going to give them the ball for a quick throw-in down the line for Niall McGinn to get a quick cross in when we are leading 2-1, well…
“If a player does that it’s a booking, but unfortunately I’ve been sent off again.”