Leigh Griffiths targets 40 goals for Celtic this season

The striker recently reached 50 for his Celtic career. He's looking to get close to that mark in a single season. Picture: PAThe striker recently reached 50 for his Celtic career. He's looking to get close to that mark in a single season. Picture: PA
The striker recently reached 50 for his Celtic career. He's looking to get close to that mark in a single season. Picture: PA

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On-form Celtic hitman Leigh Griffiths has warned opposition defences he is targeting 40 goals and beyond this season.

The 25-year-old believes he is in the form of his life after netting nine goals in his last five games.

He claimed the match ball with a hat-trick during Tuesday night’s incredible 8-1 thumping of Hamilton to take this campaign’s tally to 27.

Now he insists he is still hungry for more.

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With 16 games in the Ladbrokes Premiership still to be played, as well as the potential of another six in the cup competitions - including next month’s William Hill Scottish Cup last 16 clash with minnows East Kilbride - there is plenty of scope for Griffiths to become the first Celt since Henrik Larsson in 2001 to hit 40 goals.

The Scotland striker said: “I feel like I’m in the form of my life right now.

“My confidence is sky high. I feel like I’m going into every game capable of scoring goals. I’ve only got one more goal to equal my record for a whole season when I was at Hibs.

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“I got 28 there and have got 27 now, with still a number of games to go, so hopefully I go on to beat that and Kris Commons’ mark of 31 from a couple of years back.

“My next target is 30 and I want to hit that as quickly as possible. Then we will look to other targets.

“Yeah these records matter to me. As a striker you want to be selfish with scoring goals. If you set targets and reach them you will be happy. But you can’t just set one, you have to keep setting them higher and higher.

“At the start of the season I aim to hit 20, then it’s 25, then 30. Once I hit 30 I’ll want to hit 40 and then see where I am at the end of the season.”

Griffiths’ Accies treble drew him level with Britain’s top marksman, Rangers’ forward Martyn Waghorn.

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But while he would like the honour of finishing the season on top of the UK scorers chart, he insists there is no added incentive to beat the blue half of Glasgow’s representative in the goal chase.

“Finishing as Britain’s top scorer wouldn’t go amiss,” he admitted. “But firstly I want to be Celtic’s top scorer. I want to continue doing well for Celtic. If the goals keep coming I’ll be happy.

“[The competition from Waghorn] doesn’t bother me. I’m playing in the top league but he’s doing well for Rangers and he can only do what he’s doing, same as me.

“You can only score against who you are up against - it doesn’t matter if it’s Kilmarnock or Alloa. You’ve still got to go do your job regardless.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m in the top flight or he is in the league below. He’s still scoring goals for a living and doing well.”

Celtic face St Johnstone on Saturday as they look to protect their six-point lead at the top of the table.

But Griffiths is already eyeing up the cup clash with Kilby on February 7.

He was in the K Park crowd to see the Lowland League outfit overcome his old youth team Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale on Wednesday to set up the David-v-Goliath showdown.

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But while the match could represent a chance for him to significantly boost his collection of goals for the year, he insists it is more important Celtic focus on not slipping on a huge banana skin.

“We still need to be professional and go do our jobs,” he said. “It’s not about scorelines. This will be the biggest game of their lives and they will enjoy it as well.

“I’ve seen stuff in the press about them moaning about the game being played at Hamilton but wherever it gets played we will go there, be professional and try to get the win.”